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Nielsen: Employment, Time Spent In Vehicles Continued To Climb In October.

More employed people are working outside the home, time spent in vehicles continues to rise, and more kids are attending some in-person classes with radio on during the drive to school. These are among the emerging lifestyle changes having a positive impact on radio listening, according to a new online survey of consumers conducted in early October by Nielsen.

The measurement giant released fresh findings Tuesday from the fourth in a series of ongoing consumer sentiment surveys, fielded Oct. 1-5, via an online survey based on a weighted sample of 1,000 persons aged 18+.

It found the number of employed persons working outside the home continued to rise in October, hitting 61%, up from 53% in June, 46% in May and 39% in late April. This includes those who stopped going into the workplace when COVID-19 started but have recently started to go back in, along with people who were furloughed or laid off but have since gone back to work.

“The higher these numbers go, the more traffic there is on the road and the earlier people have to leave now to commute,” Nielsen VP of Audience Insights Jon Miller said during a client webinar Tuesday. “When those things happen, radio use goes up as well.”

In fact, Nielsen found that time spent in the vehicle continued to grow in October, reaching one hour, five minutes daily among the total sample. But heavy radio listeners spent double that amount of time in the car (2:11). “This makes a lot of logical sense,” Miller continued. “One of the reasons why you’re a heavy radio user is you generally spend more time in the car, because that’s the place radio is primality used as the top audio source in the vehicle.” Heavy radio listeners are now spending a full hour more in their car daily than in the late April survey and 38 minutes more than in mid-to-late June.

School is another reason why people are out of the house. The new findings show that nearly half of respondents have their children attending some in-person classes. Among that group, about half are getting to school in a vehicle. And of those driving their kids to school, the vast majority (62%) say the radio is “always on” during the drive to and from school and another third (35%) said the radio is “sometimes on.”

Said Miller, “These are some of the leading indicators that we’ve been noticing in our consumer data that are all pointing toward the same direction, which is rising radio use, rising average quarter hour audience, and a closer return to where we were back in March.”

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