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National Survey: Consumers Are Dramatically Changing Media Consumption in Wake of Coronavirus

by Brian Colling - March 17, 2020

The Colling Media market research team conducted a national Snapshot Study to understand how the coronavirus (COVID-19) is changing the way consumers are consuming media and advertising. The survey, conducted March 17, 2020, canvased 500 adults 18+ from throughout the United States. The purpose of the study was to reveal if social distancing, the closing of businesses, and people working from home are modifying how people are watching, listening, and absorbing differing media.

Top-level findings of Colling Media coronavirus COVID-19 Media Consumption Snapshot survey:

  1. 54.7% of consumers are watching more TV than they were this time last week.
  2. 16%.6 of consumers are listening to less radio (at home or in the car) than they were this time last week.
  3. 46% of consumers are looking at more social media (such as Facebook, Twitter, and LinkedIn) than they were this time last week.
  4. 35.4% of consumers are seeing less out-of-home advertising (such as billboards and bus shelter advertising) than they were this time last week
  5. 40% of consumers are using their desktop or laptop computers more than they were this time last week.
  6. 53.3% of consumers are consuming websites on their mobile/cell phones more than they were this time last week.

“In many ways, the results of our survey aren’t surprising, because we’ve seen shifts in consumer media consumption before and during unusual times,” says Brian Colling, CEO of Colling Media. “But these results are significantly amplified and different than what we’ve ever seen before. For advertisers, we suggest an immediate audit of where and how their target consumers are consuming media. This may mean immediate dialing back on some media, such as radio and out-of-home, and an increase in social media, TV and OTT spending, especially on mobile devices. That is what we’re doing for our clients—advising them where they should be spending their advertising dollars for optimal results. Brands need to reach customers, even under unusual circumstances, so we must be vigilant in watching and responding immediately.”

Full results of the March 17, 2020, Colling Media Snapshot survey:

Colling Media Research published 3/17/20: COVID-19 Coronavirus pie chart describing how much TV watching now compared to same time last week. More occupies 54.7%, Same occupies 38.7%, Less occupies 6.6%.
Colling Media Research published 3/17/20: COVID-19 Coronavirus pie chart describing how much radio listening compared to same time last week. More occupies 24.7%, same occupies 58.7%, less occupies 16.6%
Colling Media Research published 3/17/20: COVID-19 Coronavirus pie chart describing how social media consumption compared to same time last week. More occupies 46%, same occupies 44.7%, less occupies 9.3%.
Colling Media Research published 3/17/20: COVID-19 Coronavirus pie chart describing how out-of-home (billboards, bus shelter) advertising consumer see compared to same time last week. More occupies 13.3%, same occupies 51.3%, less occupies 35.4%.
Colling Media Research published 3/17/20: COVID-19 Coronavirus pie chart describing how much time in people spend on computers and laptops compared to same time last week. More occupies 40%, same occupies 48%, less occupies 12%.
Colling Media Research published 3/17/20: COVID-19 Coronavirus pie chart describing how time people spend on smartphones compared to same time last week. More occupies 53.3%, same occupies 40%, less occupies 6.7%.

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