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Nielsen’s March Consumer Survey Shows Key Metrics Pointing In Radio’s Favor.

One year after the coronavirus outbreak tuned the world upside down, the latest in an ongoing series of Nielsen Audio Consumer Sentiment surveys shows several key metrics are pointing in radio’s favor. Among them, 64% of Americans 18 and older said they strongly or somewhat agreed that it is safer than it was a month ago, compared to 38% in April 2020.

For ad sellers the survey, which was fielded in March, has some pitch-worthy findings. Heavy radio listeners are more likely to make major purchases within a year, and are 18% more likely to purchase or lease a new or used vehicle, and 64% more likely to buy a new house.

For programmers looking to engage with a captive audience inside their vehicles, the study offers valuable insights: among the employed, two-thirds now work outside the home. That’s up nearly 70% since April. In addition, workers at home due to COVID-19 declined by more than half since April 2020.

The initial virus outbreak one year ago caused a rapid downturn in the number of people using public transportation. One year later Nielsen’s survey shows all groups are still using less public transportation due to COVID. What’s more, those spending an hour or more in vehicles shot up 150% since April, and heavy radio listeners are more likely to spend an hour or more in the car.

At the same time, the number of children attending in-person classes in March exceeded those attending virtual-only classes, putting parents of school-age children on the road during drive times. Nielsen reports that children of heavy radio listeners are more likely to attend in-person classes and less likely to attend virtual classes or be homeschooled. And nine in ten say the radio is on during the drive to school.

In other findings about how people feel about COVID restrictions and the economy, vaccine attitudes and how people are getting the things they buy:


  • Overall, consumers say 71% need to be vaccinated to get back to normal but “wait and sees” say it needs to be significantly higher.

  • Among those who have gotten the vaccine or plan to get it, most expect to continue taking precautions after vaccination.

Health and Doctor Visits

  • Significant levels of concern remain about the health implications of COVID, with 65% more concerned with the health of a family member of a close friend than their own health (53%).

  • 69% say that they are most likely to go to a routine doctor appointment in the next two months.

How Local Shopping Has Changed

  • Consumers implemented new ways to get items they bought during the pandemic. Before the pandemic, 69% of shoppers ordered items online to have them shipped to their home, compared to 78%, who are doing so now.

  • Consumers expect to do more in store shopping and ordering online in the next twelve months.

Nielsen is hosting a webinar for clients to present the results from its new consumer Audio Sentiment survey, Wednesday, March 31 at 3pm.

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