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Radio is The Soundtrack of the American Economic Recovery


Westwood One
Westwood One

Westwood One's Insights team highlights new results from Nielsen of a just-completed national consumer study of 1,000 respondents that was conducted October 1-5. This is fourth in a series of studies that have tracked the pandemic's impact on consumer movement, spending, attitudes and media usage. The prior studies were conducted in April, May, and June of this year.

  • Commuting surge: There is a +56% increase in the number of Americans working outside the home. Nielsen reports 61% of U.S. workers are now commuting to their workplace, up from 39% in early May.

  • The number of at-home workers is down -55%. As of early October, Nielsen finds 19% of those employed are working at home, down from 42% in May.

  • Dallas Federal Reserve: In September, 69% of U.S. workers commuted to work and 20% worked from home. Validating Nielsen's findings is a just-released national commuting study from the Dallas Federal Reserve. As of September 2020, 69% of those who were employed pre-pandemic were commuting to work. 20% were working from home and 11% were not employed.

  • Half of American schoolchildren are driven to school with AM/FM radio playing in the car. 50% say their children are driven to school (3% carpool, 47% parent/family member). 44% of American schoolchildren are taking the bus. 62% indicate that AM/FM radio is always on, and 35% say AM/FM radio is sometimes on in the car.

  • AM/FM radio's audience recovery, and time spent in the car is powered by commuting increases and a return to school. From May to October, Nielsen finds daily time spent in the car has grown +81% from 36 minutes in May to 65 minutes in October. Among heavy AM/FM radio listeners, daily time spent in the car has doubled from an hour and six minutes a day to two hours and eleven minutes.

  • AM/FM radio is the soundtrack of the American economic recovery. Across 29 purchase categories, heavy AM/FM radio listeners show stronger purchase intentions compared to heavy TV viewers.

  • The economy will affect holiday shopping, but AM/FM radio listeners will spend more than the average. A greater proportion of heavy AM/FM radio listeners say they will spend more this holiday (14%) versus heavy TV viewers (10%) and the overall market (10%).

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