Heavy Radio Listeners are 2020's Big Spenders

BY Rachel Cagle
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Sadly, the COVID-​19 influenced world we live in now has become the new normal. After nearly nine months of masking up, maintaining a six-​foot distance from others, and washing our hands, people aren’t as afraid to go out and shop anymore. Additionally, many Americans are also expected to return to their offices and other places of work. This gives heavy radio listeners more ways to consume one of their favorite forms of entertainment media.

Why Target Heavy Radio Listeners?

According to a study by Nielsen, “53% of Americans believe life is starting to normalize, they are more likely to resume typical activities and are starting to shop more as restrictions permit.” These consumers are also all heavy radio listeners of both AM and FM stations. Nielsen also points out that they’re a prime advertising target. Why? They’re mostly made up of parents between the ages of 25 and 54 who have an annual household income of over $100,000.

The majority of these consumers also work away from home. At the beginning of October, heavy radio listeners spent an average of two hours and 11 minutes in their vehicles on a daily basis. That time in the car is a major contributor to their radio listening habits. It also makes it easier for them to drive straight to a business they want to make a purchase from.

What do They Intend to Buy?

Heavy radio listeners aren’t just planning on buying the day-​to-​day essentials they need. According to Nielsen, “they’re 48% more likely to make a major purchase, like an appliance, and they’re 45% more likely to visit a car or truck dealership.” With all that time spent in their vehicles, it’s no wonder that they’re probably considering a new one. Maybe even one with more high-​tech features and enhanced radio options.

In the near future, heavy radio listeners plan on making quite a few purchases, both large and small. For instance, in November, they said they planned to:

  • Order take out: 80%
  • Shop for cloths in a physical store: 57%
  • Visit a coffee shop or café: 50%
  • Dine out at both sit down and quick-​serve restaurants: 49%
  • Go to a hair salon, barber shop or nail salon: 47%
  • Go to a bar: 24%
  • Plan or book a vacation: 23%
  • Watch a movie at a theater: 22%
  • Go to the gym or a fitness center: 20%

Heavy radio listeners also include consumers who work from home and are still following strict stay at home guidelines. Between March and October of this year, in-​home radio listening among adults ranged from 29% to 42% of radio listening as a whole.


There are many businesses that can benefit from putting their advertisements on the radio. Even before the pandemic hit the U.S., 38.5% of American adults considered themselves Radio Ad Responders, according to AudienceSCAN on AdMall by SalesFuel. Still, if your client isn’t comfortable with putting all of their advertising eggs in the radio basket, consider a multichannel campaign. Heavy radio listeners are also influenced by TV commercials, direct mail ads and sponsored search results.