The top hobbies Americans actually had time to explore during 2020

The pandemic has shut down a lot, but it has given rise to one thing.

According to new research, two in three Americans (63%) said COVID-19 has given them more time to escape into their hobbies and odd jobs than ever before.

The survey of 2,000 Americans found the average respondent now spends just over six hours every week working on a hobby or a small job they’ve been putting off.

The study, conducted by OnePoll on behalf of Ally Financial, aimed to get insight on how Americans are choosing to spend their days as the pandemic still continues to affect our day-to-day lives.

Nearly three in four of all those polled said finally having time to spend on these hobbies is a welcome positive in an otherwise dreary year.

According to the results, nearly half spent more time cooking than before the pandemic, with another 47% saying they’ve been able to read and write more.

Another third of those polled said they’ve also been spending more time gardening during these uncertain times, while four in 10 have been exercising more and more.

Over a sixth of those surveyed have even taken this time to start fixing up their car themselves.

This could be a reflection on how essential cars have become for many Americans.

“At a time when many people have fewer places to go, cars and personal transportation are more important than ever,” said Mark Manzo, president of Ally Insurance.

“The pandemic has forced us to rethink how we get around and it’s no surprise that people prefer the comfort, security and health benefits of driving their own vehicle.”

Of car owners polled, 69% said they plan on driving more once the pandemic ends, rather than utilize public transportation.

With our health being on our minds, as well as being constantly cognizant of our proximity to others, it’s not a surprise 62% of car owners consider their vehicle their own little “fortress of solitude.”

Interestingly, men (73%) were significantly more likely to consider their car to be their fortress of solitude than women (53%).

It also serves us in a meditative way, with 72% of car owners saying that going for a drive alone allows them to clear their heads.

The survey results showed that our cars may be a more integral part of our lives going forward.

Of those who own a car, 47% said working on it themselves instead of taking it to a mechanic would make them feel accomplished.

But just because they might feel accomplished doesn’t always mean it’s a good idea to take on fixing their car themselves.

More than half of all those polled (55%) agreed that vehicle repairs and maintenance is a job best left to professionals.

“Many Americans are considering holding on to their current vehicle longer, and it’s smart to consider a vehicle service contract to help keep your vehicle on the road and your budget on track,” Manzo said.

“These types of protection plans help cover replacement parts and repairs that fall outside the factory warranty — with the benefit of working with the pros at licensed repair shops and franchise dealerships.”


  1. Cooking 48%
  2. Reading/writing 47%
  3. Exercising 40%
  4. Home improvement 35%
  5. Gardening 34%
  6. Video games 30%
  7. Camping/hiking 19%
  8. Fixing up my car 17%
  9. Playing an instrument 15%
  10. Photography 15%

>> Download the video and infographic for this research story <<
NOTE: All news copy and multimedia on this SWNS account is free to use as you see fit. Where research has been conducted, we ask that you credit the company which commissioned it.



Get the Medium app

A button that says 'Download on the App Store', and if clicked it will lead you to the iOS App store
A button that says 'Get it on, Google Play', and if clicked it will lead you to the Google Play store


SWNS is a UK and US-based news and media content agency with a proud 40-year history.