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America Cheers Up!

By Idil Cakim, SVP, Research & Insights, Audacy

Advertisers, marketers, business owners, take note! The U.S. consumer is feeling real good, after a long period of uncertainty. The latest Nielsen consumer survey shows that nine out of 10 U.S. adults are ‘ready to go’ and return to normal activities. That is a big jump (+29%) since this March. Finally, the days of doom and gloom are behind us. Here’s what all this means:

The US economy is getting back on track: Nearly half (48%) expect the economy to improve in the next six months. And as many as 87% think their finances will remain the same or improve.

Leisure spending is bound to increase: These attitudes signal a surge in spending, as consumers increase their activities and participate in local economies by shopping, traveling, indulging in leisurely activities and more. And radio listeners are even more eager than others to go into stores, drive, see friends and family, and spend across a variety of local businesses.

We’re out and about:

  • Driving more than 1 hour in vehicles almost doubled since April 2020. And heavy radio listeners are far ahead of the norm, with 40% indicating they were in their vehicles for 1+ hours yesterday (vs. 26% of U.S. adults.)
  • About two-thirds of employees work outside the home (+70% since April 2020). And of those who are still working from home due to COVID-19, more than half are planning to go back soon.
  • Children going to in-person classes increased sharply since October 2020. And parents are more likely to drive them to school — with the radio almost always on.

Put that order in, online or offline: The pandemic taught us about flexible and convenient ways of ordering online and locally. The study shows an increase in both in-store and online shopping. Consumers are not letting go of curbside pickups from local businesses either!

The new normal is hybrid: We are going back to offices and schools, putting shopping on our list of activities, and enjoying eating at restaurants again — but we’re mixing some new habits we gained during the pandemic with the way we used to do things. Convenience (e.g., curbside pick up from local stores), novel discoveries (e.g., podcast binging), and old joys of life (e.g., walking down the aisles of a retail store to check out new styles) drive our choices.

Audio is top of the play list that not only endured the pandemic, but rose above the tide with an expansive selection of content and new modes of listening. And as we step into the new normal, audio is with us — at home, in the office, in a shop and at school drop off.

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