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Coronavirus and How it is Impacting Online Surveys

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Written by SurveyPolice

We’ve had multiple inquiries from users regarding the Cornavirus (COVID-19) and its possible effects on taking online surveys. Questions have included wondering if survey availability will fall, whether surveys will pay less with more people online than ever, and what the long terms impacts could be.

This is a serious health crisis

First off, as you’ve no doubt heard from various different sources, this is a public emergency and should not be taken lightly. Even if you’re young and healthy, practicing social isolation is about stopping the virus in its tracks for the greater good; although the mortality rate for young people is relatively low, we especially want to protect the elderly and those who are immunocompromised. We should all be doing our part and staying at home when possible.

Secondly, as it currently stands, it appears that it’s business as usual (as much as possible, considering the circumstances) for the market research industry. We’ve received numerous notifications from market research companies informing us that they will continue operating as normally as possible (see below).

What is being affected

Research types such as in-person focus groups are mostly being placed on hold (as expected), as are clinical trials. Anything that involves face-to-face contact is being eliminated as much as possible. As well, product testing assignments may be delayed and/or cancelled all together. As online surveys are digital in nature, and are ‘cloud’ hosted, online surveys themselves should be unaffected.

Some panels are anticipating some shifts in demographic representations1 such as survey takers who have children having less time to respond to surveys (due to school closures), and it’s likely that areas that experience high infection rates will be more focused on managing their local health crisis than they will be about worrying about completing online surveys.

What you can expect as a survey taker

For most survey takers, knock-on-wood, things continue to hum along with minimal disruption. We here at SurveyPolice do expect a possible short term decrease in survey inventory availability (with corporate clients decreasing their research budgets; we are hopeful however this will be offset by governments and academics increasing their levels of research).

We also anticipate that the delivery of physical rewards such as plastic gift cards and merchandise to be affected by the coronavirus, with delivery times being markedly longer. When selecting a rewards option, please keep this in mind; best to ‘stay digital’ during these trying times by opting for a PayPal payment or digital gift card.

As for an influx of survey takers, although theoretically more people may be online searching for ways to make money, there will also be many people who are focused on bigger problems; managing care for their elderly parents and children, trying to maintain some form of one’s previous employment through a work from home setup, and most importantly, trying to avoid contracting the coronavirus disease itself.

A temporary disruption

We are hopeful that any negative impacts felt on the survey taking industry will be short-term and won’t have lasting effects or implications. The economic disruption felt globally by COVID-19 is already enormous and although the risk of a recession is high, we will ultimately have to wait until dust settles to fully see how our world has changed. We don’t have a crystal ball, but what we do know is that taking care of each other is what matters most right now.

As such, we’d like to take this opportunity to thank you for trusting SurveyPolice as a source for online survey taking information over the last 15 years. We wouldn’t be here today if not for you.

We wish you, your family and your friends good health.

If you’d like to discuss the situation with fellow survey takers, we’ve started a special forum topic on this here:

» Discussion on the Coronavirus


  • YouGov has reported no ‘material impact’ of the Coronavirus on its market research business, although ‘a small minority’ of existing clients have requested payment deferrals or cancellations.2. The YouGov survey panel appears to be operating normally.
  • On April 22, 2020, PrizeRebel announced a shortage of survey availability, due to a surge in user activity and fewer online surveys available. They have issued a statement on their platform that states to ‘…check for surveys and offers more frequently. We recommend checking on weekdays for the most opportunities. We will continue to work on our end in obtaining new surveys for members’.3
  • On April 8, 2020, Panelbase founder Angus Webb passed away from COVID-19.4 The UK-based panel has confirmed that it will continue to operate normally.



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