COVID-19: How it’s impacting consumer behavior and media usage

By: Katrina Stroh, Media Director | March 17th, 2020

As you are aware, COVID-19 is having a massive impact on our society. Between school closures, mandated work from home policies to banning all major events, it would be an understatement to say daily lifestyles are being turned upside down.  Every person is required to reprioritize how they eat, shop, work and entertain themselves.

Obviously, being in the advertising business, our clients turn to us for guidance on how they should navigate the media world and where they should be deploying dollars that will benefit them most.  This recent spin on life has certainly created a whole new reality for most consumers.  Therefore, we break down some of the biggest trends in an effort to bring clarity around consumer behavior and media consumption and how it’s impacting the marketing landscape.

Consumer Behavior Changes

Comparing spending in China during the height of COVID-19, according to a Wavemaker survey in China, 68% of consumers said they did not cut back spending in light of COVID-19, however there were distinct shifts in how they spent and what it was spent on.

Media Consumption Trends

As with the changes in purchase behavior the media industry has also seen major influences from social distancing, closures of many local businesses, cancellation of nearly ALL major sporting events, and overall reduction in commuting hours.  With more time at home, people are finding new ways to entertain themselves resulting in a surge in media usage at home. According to Nielsen, staying put in our homes can lead to upwards of a 60% increase in the amount of content we watch in some cases.

We have been having to rethink a lot of strategies over the past week based on the recent crisis that’s being especially felt here in the PNW, but the chain reaction is likely to translate in other states and cities as time continues.

As brands are faced with decisions on how to market during this time of turmoil, Media+ hopes to be a source for how to best approach your business through a media lens in order to maximize media investment and limit waste, while being mindful of the current consumer sentiment.  We will be releasing a series of blog posts over coming weeks to continue to keep you informed on the impact surrounding the media and advertising industry. Stay tuned!


Sources: https://www.warc.com/newsandopinion/opinion/covid-19-three-scenarios-for-the-impact-on-media-planning/3448;https://www.nielsen.com/us/en/insights/article/2020/key-consumer-behavior-thresholds-identified-as-the-coronavirus-outbreak-evolves/; https://www.emarketer.com/content/the-biggest-business-impacts-of-the-coronavirus-pandemic-according-to-business-insider-intelligence; https://www.nielsen.com/wp-content/uploads/sites/3/2019/06/audio-today-2019.pdf;https://www.nielsen.com/us/en/insights/article/2020/staying-put-consumers-forced-indoors-during-crisis-spend-more-time-on-media/