From etiquette to reptile care, SF consumer website sees range of new questions during pandemic

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ByDavid Louie KGO logo
Friday, December 31, 2021
COVID impact? Website sees quirky variety of new consumer interests
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A San Francisco-based consumer help website is fielding some interesting questions as we head into another pandemic year.

SAN FRANCISCO (KGO) -- Tracking consumer trends takes many forms. What people are buying is one way, but so are questions they have and advice they're seeking.

San Francisco-based JustAnswer fields over three million questions a year from consumers with problems, needing help from experts. CEO Andy Kurtzig says over the years it gives them what's on the rise and what's losing steam.

Weddings, for example, are definitely making a comeback after COVID caused some couples to hold off. Wedding questions are up 30 percent.

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Is civility making a comeback? Questions about etiquette have jumped up 65 percent.

"That's because people are asking, 'hey, should I invite this person to my party or not?' 'Should I make them be vaccinated or not?' 'Should I ask them about whether they've got a negative COVID test or not?' These kinds of sensitive topics that people aren't quite sure how to ask in a polite way," said Kurtzig.

Inquiries about plumbing have increased 33 percent.

VIDEO: 'Pandemiquette': How to survive in a world of tricky coronavirus social situations

ABC7's Reggie Aqui spoke with lifestyle & etiquette expert Elaine Swann about how to navigate certain social situations in public during the covid-19 pandemic and explains what we should be doing with masks, social distancing, and dining outdoors.

"People are stuck at home. They don't want some stranger coming into their house," Kurtzig noted. "A lot of these things you can do yourself, you know. You don't have to pay the $300 or the $500 for the plumber to come to your house."

ABC7 News reporter David Louie noticed a big drop-off in interest in clock repairs. What's behind that?

"Everybody's on COVID time, right? Nobody, nobody needs to keep track of the clock as much this year," said Kurtzig.

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Gaming is still big, but with no new systems released this year, that's one area that's losing steam. Down 32 percent.

Advice about firearms dropped 39 percent.

Other interesting trends -- Consumers want answers about reptile behavior and dream interpretation, but interest in boats is losing steam, down 16 percent. Maybe that's because people are more interested in RV's as an alternative to high-cost housing and working in an office. RV questions are up 27 percent.