During the coronavirus pandemic and nationwide stay-at-home orders, which continue to various degrees in most of the country, American buying habits shifted, as they were required to depend on specific companies for their different needs.
A new survey called The Essential 100: Company Reputation Amid COVID-19, from the Harris Poll, looked at the 100 companies that Americans say best handled the pandemic. Taking the top spot was the U.S. Postal Service, with Clorox second, Google third, UPS fourth and Walmart fifth. Rounding out the top ten were Amazon, Purell, Microsoft, FedEx and CVS.
Elsewhere in the tech sector, Samsung ranked 11th, YouTube 13th, Netflix 16th, Apple 17, and Best Buy 32nd. Verizon ranked 42nd while Comcast placed 106th.
With the lack of sports during quarantine, sports brands did not rank highly. The NFL, despite a well-received, socially-distanced NFL Draft in April, was 78th, the NBA 80th and Major League Baseball 81st. ESPN, despite airing the acclaimed documentary series "The Last Dance" during quarantine, ranked 100th.
The companies were ranked on four criteria: Resolve, integrity, responsiveness and permanence. The Postal Service was ranked #1 for both responsiveness and permanence, while Clorox ranked first for both resolve and integrity.
The top ranking for the U.S. Postal Service came at a time when the federal government is threatening to privatize it, or possibly to raise its prices.
The survey also asked people's impressions of different industries, and showed how they've changed from January — before the pandemic — and May. Retail and grocery increased by 7 percent, while consumer products gained 3 percent. Technology dropped 4 percent, health insurance jumped 28 percent, and even government rose 18 percent.
When specifically asked how industries had handled the pandemic, health care (doctors/nurses/hospitals) had the highest approval at 73 percent, followed by retail/grocery (72 percent), and restaurants (67 percent.) Real estate ranked the lowest (36 percent) followed by airlines (41 percent.)
“When they needed it the most, Americans put their trust in the business community to help them through COVID-19,” John Gerzema, CEO of The Harris Poll, said in the release of the numbers. “We’ve seen widespread approval of the corporate response to the pandemic – whether pivoting to different goods and services, reinforcing supply chains, or seeking cures for the deadly virus.”
Stephen Silver, a technology writer for The National Interest, is a journalist, essayist and film critic, who is also a contributor to Philly Voice, Philadelphia Weekly, the Jewish Telegraphic Agency, Living Life Fearless, Backstage magazine, Broad Street Review and Splice Today. The co-founder of the Philadelphia Film Critics Circle, Stephen lives in suburban Philadelphia with his wife and two sons. Follow him on Twitter at @StephenSilver.