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5 COVID Consumer Habits to Refine Your 2021 Media Budget

5 COVID Consumer Habits

A pandemic changes everything.

Or does it?

MJM recently performed a market analysis for one of its clients with locations across the Midwest, and while our findings may not be an apples-to-apples comparison for your company, our research did bring to light a more accurate assessment of consumer choices during the pandemic. In a nutshell, COVID is accelerating trends we were already seeing.

The acceleration is most notable in consumers’ media consumption, which, unsurprisingly, is up from 2019.

In 2020 consumers chose to:

  • Cut the cord more than ever before. We’ve seen a steady migration to streaming services, particularly Hulu and Sling TV, from cable; however, the pandemic was a boon for both (+44% and +30% respectively). Cable television is still a major contender, but streaming platforms should not be overlooked for 2021 media placement. In addition to their growing viewership, ads can’t always be skipped and are highly targeted. Additionally, 2020 saw those aged 55+ adopt streaming services in record numbers, a trend experts don’t expect will reverse post-pandemic.
  • Tune in to local news. It seems contrary to the cord cutting trend, but consumers still trust their local news stations. While prime time television viewership has declined, according to Nielsen, local news broadcasts have spiked as much as 192% over 2019 as viewers seek the latest COVID updates for their area.
  • Consume media throughout the day. The shift to working and schooling from home is reflected by a reciprocal shift in viewing times. Consumers are now tuning in, logging on, and scrolling throughout the day instead of confining their use to lunch breaks and after 5 p.m. Furloughs, layoffs, and less commuting is also contributing to this trend. Give podcasts a try. Podcasts were already trending upward, but during the pandemic their listenership has tripled. More than 55% of Americans report listening to podcasts in 2020. This media presents a double opportunity for 2021 as companies explore creating their own podcasts to educate their customers or purchasing ads during existing ones already catering to their target demographic.
  • Skip the sports. The kingpin of many media buying strategies, sporting events and the related content they generate, toppled during the pandemic. They have rebounded some, but it’s too early to tell how they’ll perform in 2021. Setting aside some advertising dollars and monitoring the situation is the best plan, especially for the first quarter of 2021.

These and other insights are included in MJM’s 2020 Consumer Analysis. Just fill out the form below to download the full report. Need one that’s specific to your company? Contact our team to get started.

Consumer Analysis Download