Americans are driving more, at rates well above pre-pandemic levels, and most feel road trips are a good way to escape the stress of COVID. These are among the research findings reported in “Reach Consumers on the Road with Radio,” the latest in Katz Radio Group's “Radio Insight” series.
The media rep firm’s own analysis of recent Apple Mobility Trend Report data shows that for the past 30 days, all U.S. states are experiencing driving levels above the pre-COVID baseline, up 54% nationally. Citing an MRI-Simmons study from April, Katz also points out that more than half of people (51%) are not at all concerned about risk of exposure to COVID-19 while driving their own cars compared to other modes of transportation, which may explain why AAA predicts that 9 in 10 Americans will be driving to their Memorial Day weekend destination, choosing the safety of their own vehicles over other travel options.
Additional research presented by Katz, from Mintel Road Trips, shows that 7 in 10 Americans feel a road trip is a good way to escape the stress of the pandemic and nearly two-thirds (63%) feel road trips have become more appealing since COVID began. Another Mintel study shows nearly half of Americans (49%) would prefer to drive even with other transportation options available, and that 40% say “A personal vehicle is like a form of PPE (personal protective equipment).”
“Reach Consumers...” also includes research connecting driving with the power of radio advertising, such as Katz's own May 2021 survey results reporting three in four Americans prefer to stop at restaurants and grocery stores during a road trip. “Studies have shown that radio ads drive brand awareness, consideration and store traffic, making road trippers prime consumer targets for local businesses to engage with on radio,” Katz Manager, Radio Station Solutions Melissa Robinson says.
As a reminder of radio's in-car reach and the increased effectiveness of advertising as more Americans take to the road, Katz points to Edison data that the medium comprises six out of every 10 minutes spent listening to ad-supported audio in the car, and that 80% of Americans listen to radio while driving, based on MRI-Simmons April 2021 research.