Before the onset of COVID-19, more than 700,000 Boston area households were planning to spend $1.5 billion on furniture, according to Nielsen. Unfortunately, many of those plans were put on pause as consumers sheltered in place to help slow the spread of the virus.
A recent study by Elevate | SmithGeiger suggests that the fortunes of home furnishing retailers, however, are about to improve.
According to the study, 32% of consumers who had been planning to buy furniture will do so within three months of the pandemic easing. Fifty percent will do so within six months. The numbers for mattress shoppers are even stronger.
To capture a significant share of the post-pandemic sales of furniture and mattress will require retailers to advertise. The most effective way to reach the customers who are ready to buy is on Boston radio.
In a study conducted at the end of June, Nielsen found that loyal radio listeners were 20% more likely than the general population to buy furniture within 60 days of pandemic restrictions easing than the general population.
Compared to loyal television viewers, radio listeners are also 50% more likely to buy furniture within a similar period.
For those Boston small business owners, including furniture and mattress retailers, who plan to advertise as pandemic restrictions ease, should choose their messages carefully.
Additional findings from the Elevate | SmithGeiger study indicate that consumers' attitudes toward advertising have changed several times during the pandemic.
In the current phase, according to the study, potential buyers no longer need a message that conveys a feeling of 'in this together' or 'safety and comfort'. Instead, advertisers should focus on 'helping customers'.
To this end, Elevate | SmithGeiger suggests avoiding the following commercial elements:
- "During the unprecedented times..."
- "We know you feel (word)..."
- "COVID-19" or "Coronavirus"
- Somber music
- "The New Normal"
Instead, concludes the study, advertisers should start doing this:
- Address safety measures
- "We are open"
- Playful or upbeat music
- Talk about deals
- Online options
Regardless of the messaging, most marketing experts agree that this is not a time for Boston small business owners to stop advertising, also known as 'going dark'.
"According to our analysis, short-term decisions to go dark create significant risk for long-term revenue," says Ameneh Atai, Senior Vice President of Commercial Strategy at Nielsen. "This affects both incremental revenue and base sales."
"Our database of long-term effects models suggests that cutting ad spending for the rest of 2020 could lead up-to 11% revenue decrease in 2021," says Ms. Atai. "It could take three to five years of solid and consistent brand building to recover from an extended dark period of media."
"We have a ton of evidence in our historical analysis," adds Nielsen's Tsvetan Tsvetkov, Senior Vice President of Agency and Advertiser Solutions. "Companies that step away from advertising efforts for a period of time, whether it's a couple of quarters or a full year or longer lose the momentum they have built over time the minute they stop. To recover takes a long, long time."
More Sound Advertising Advice For Boston Small Business Owners
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