Nielsen: Radio Remains Resilient Despite Commuters Staying At Home During Pandemic.


There’s a lot of talk these days about “the new normal,” with nearly every facet of life in the U.S. and around the globe undergoing dramatic shifts amid the COVID-19 pandemic.

How advertisers, agencies and publishers should adapt their strategies to ensure future success was the topic of a Nielsen webinar on Thursday entitled “Adapting Advertising to a New Normal: Insights, Trends & the Path Forward During COVID-19.”

Panelists for the event included Nielsen’s David Hohman, EVP and managing director, Agency and Advertiser Solutions; Ameneh Atai, SVP and managing director, Commercial Strategy; and Tsvetan Tsvetkov, SVP, Agency and Advertiser Solutions.


“In the U.S., COVID is driving consumers to try new activities and adapt to technology at a faster rate than before,” Hohman said. “It’s important to understand that while behaviors are shifting and emerging through this pandemic, we’re not quite sure yet which behaviors are here to stay.”

Virtual shopping is one example cited by Hohman, who noted that 22% of respondents to one recent Nielsen survey said they’re ordering groceries online for the first time during the pandemic, while 28% said they’re ordering online more often.

In addition, Hohman said, Nielsen data reveals 35% are getting takeout from local restaurants for the first time; 35% are also getting takeout more often; 12% have signed up for a new video streaming service; and 14% have paid to download and watch individual movies or television.


Atai discussed shifts in media consumption across channels.

“Sheltering in place is pushing us to find creative ways to entertain ourselves,” she said. “But that being said, media consumption and engagement across channels has increased significantly, with more time being spent on consuming content.”

That enhanced consumption, she said, also applies to radio, which has shown resilience during the pandemic. Nielsen found increased listening through each week during the month of March: The average daily time spent listening to radio (across all PPM markets) in the first week of the month was 45 minutes. That increased to 46 minutes in the second week, 48 minutes in the third week, and 58 minutes in the fourth week.

“Despite stay-at-home measures, radio retains 96% of its previous weekly reach,” Atai said. “As part of that, while out-of-home is still dominant, there is a 29% increase in in-home. We’re seeing more listening from healthcare workers and drivers who can’t stay home.”

Another key takeaway from the webinar is that corporate social responsibility can lead to new conversations. Fifty-five percent of consumers are willing to pay extra for products and services from companies committed to positive social and economic impact, Atai said.

This reality is particularly crucial at a time when consumers are increasingly open to new brands. According to data presented at the webinar, 12% of consumers are taking the opportunity to discover new brands; 19% say they’re less brand loyal and purchase what’s available; and 21% say they’re purchasing a mix of usual and new brands.

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