There are more than 3,000,000 car radios in the Boston area. On March 24, though, many of these devices became quarantined along with their owners. That was the day when the Governor of Massachusetts shut down the state to slow the spread of COVID-19.
According to the Apple Mobility Index, the Governor's public-safety order caused traffic on Boston roadways to plummet to 50% of pre-pandemic levels.
By the beginning of July, however, the AMI indicates that traffic in Boston began to exceed pre-Covid levels. The surge in mobility is due, in part, to work-from-home, furloughed, and laid-off employees returning to their workplaces.
According to Nielsen, during the week of April 30, only 39% of adults with jobs were working outside-the-home. During the week of October 1, though, that number had expanded to 61%.
During the Coronavirus crisis, Nielsen data shows the time local consumers spend listening to Boston radio has remained little changed compared to pre-pandemic levels. In September of this year, for instance, adults spent 96% of the time with radio as they did during the same month last year.
What has changed, however, is where consumers are listening to radio.
According to a study released last week by Edison Research, before the pandemic, 32% of all radio listening was in the car. During April, May, and June, however, that number fell to 20%. Most of the in-car audience shifted to listening at home.
Consumers who listen to radio in their cars are a treasured audience for Boston small business owners and retailers.
A study by USA Touchpoints, a cross-platform measurement company, studied the time-lapse between audio media use and time of purchase. Radio was, by far, used most often within one half-hour of a purchase.
According to an article published by WARC, a company that collaborates with more than 50 respected marketing organizations, including the Advertising Research Foundation and the Association of National Advertisers, reaching consumers in their cars has a powerful effect on buying behavior.
"Radio ads heard in the car on the way to the store have a significant effect on purchasing intentions according to new research on fast-moving consumer goods (FMCG) advertising," says WARC.
The study conducted by Touchpoints indicates that these radio commercials heard in the car increased purchased intent among loyal customers by 38%.
Purchase intent among non-loyal brand-customers rose 39% among those exposed to in-car radio commercials.
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