By: Michelle Blood April 15, 2021

Have you surveyed your audience on this subject yet?  If not, I’ve got good news—Nielsen Audio has. In a series of surveys, which started shortly after the pandemic turned our daily lives on its head, they sought to glean an understanding on how people felt about the COVID crisis, its impact on their activities, and most importantly, their media usage.

During last month’s webinar, Nielsen shared the results from their most recent Consumer Sentiment Survey, comparing data to prior surveys in 2020, while also providing fresh data on vaccine attitudes and current shopping habits.


Those surveyed fell into one of three categories as it relates to the pandemic and lifting of restrictions:

  1. Ready to Go
  2. Proceed with caution
  3. Wait and See

Each segment is self-explanatory but here are some stats worth noting about the “ready to go” group:

  • A year ago, only 34% of this group were ready to resume normal activities. Today, it’s 61% with only 9% in the “wait and see” group.
  • Today, they are 14% more likely to engage in top 10 activities (shop, drive, eat take-out and at dine-in restaurants, spend time outdoors, gather with friends/family, visit coffee shops and salons). This group is fueling the economy.
  • 64% more likely to buy a home, and 18% more likely to buy/lease a car.
  • Reportedly, this segment is more likely to be radio listeners because they’re driving their cars to work and activities.
    • In fact, it was noted that use of cars continues to increase for all groups, while use of public transportation (bus, trains, subways) still remains very low as it did in April 2020.
    • More kids attending in-person classes and 2x as many kids are getting a ride to school in the car, not the bus.
    • Nine in ten say the radio is on during drive to school.
    • Among the employed, two-thirds now work outside the home (a 69% increase) while the number of remote workers has declined by 57% since April 2020. A leading indicator of audio growth.


Though this may be a controversial subject among your listeners, I thought it important to share their findings because radio can play a role in educating listeners about the vaccines.

  • Only half of those surveyed have received the vaccine (52%); one in four are uncertain and one in five don’t plan to get one.
  • Those who have received the vaccine tend to be male, older and white; those uncertain/don’t plan to get vaccine (49%) tend to be younger, female & Hispanic.
  • Even after getting the vaccine 86% say they will maintain the same safety precautions (mask, distancing, very limited activities); only 55% will resume ALL normal activities.


More than half of those surveyed (53%) anticipate improved economic conditions.  Of the “proceed with caution” and “ready to go” groups, more than 50% expect an improved economy in the next six months.


There are significant levels of concern that remain about the impact of COVID, far more for others than oneself.  The “ready to go” group has a lower level of concern.  And, most will go to their routine medical appointments in the coming months.


Nielsen did an excellent job presenting the data.  It was very insightful and, if I’m being completely honest, surprising too!

By the way, Nielsen is carefully watching audience levels but are encouraged to see they’re on track to match last summer’s audience numbers.  They’ll plan to do another survey in June and present results in July.  Stay tuned.

What was encouraging about the results is that it seems to signal a return to normal life (with some obvious modifications in how we live).  For the most part, that bodes well for radio listening.



Recent Posts