Nine in ten Americans say they are now “ready to go” and return to normal life habits and activities more than a year into the pandemic. Radio listeners are slightly more ready according to a new Nielsen survey. It finds 91% say they are “ready to go” compared to 8% who plan to “proceed with caution” in their lifestyle normalization and 1% who said they are taking a “wait and see” approach to pandemic life.
“We’ve been through challenging times with COVID-19, but this study shows we’re coming out of the tunnel with an improved outlook – there’s lots of good news about a return to a more normal life,” said Nielsen Senior VP Bill Rose during a company webinar on Wednesday.
That getting back to normal means more people are going to the store, getting together with friends and family, and dining out. Importantly for radio, 77% of those surveyed said they drove their vehicle during the past week. That is up ten points from April 2020 when lockdowns meant there were fewer reasons to leave the house. “More people in cars and trucks means more radio listening,” said Rose.
The data also indicates that radio listeners are engaging in more activities than Americans overall. Among people who have driven in the past week, 83% of radio listeners said they had gotten behind the wheel versus 77% overall. But radio listeners also outperformed on other metrics like getting together with friends, and going to the grocery store.
“Simply said, radio listeners are not only ready to go, but they’re on the go,” said Rose.
The Nielsen survey also shows that two-thirds of people are now working outside the home. That is a 72% increase from April 2020 when millions began working from home. At the same time, the number of people working at home because of het pandemic has declined by two-thirds during the past 14-months.
The latest data shows 14% are working from home because of COVID, and among that group, 8% expect to go back to work soon. “It’s a key statistic for audio, since consumers spend more time when radio when they travel in their vehicles to go to work,” said Rose.
It is not just workplaces that are returning to normal, but so have many school districts. The data shows that at-home learning is giving way to a return to the classroom. What is different is that a lot more kids are getting a ride to school with mom or dad – and that can be good for radio. “We found that nearly nine out of ten say radio is either always or sometimes on the drive to school,” said Nielsen VP Jon Miller.
These results are from an ongoing series of Nielsen studies looking at consumer sentiment about the COVID-19 crisis, and how people feel about what’s happening in their towns and the state of the recovery. The latest survey was conducted June 22-25.
Rose said he expects Nielsen will continue to produce new waves of surveys, with the next update likely coming in September or October.