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Unruly Data Reveals COVID-19 is Reshaping Consumer Content Consumption, Spending Habits and Advertising Preferences

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Video advertising platform Unruly today released a study that investigates how the COVID-19 pandemic is impacting consumer interests and behaviors. Unruly, which is part of Tremor International, surveyed a total of 2,556 consumers globally in late March 2020 for this study. Results revealed that overall time spent online has dramatically increased in the US — with consumers spending a lot more time than before on their mobile phones (50%), connected TVs (42%) and laptops (35%). Additionally, consumers are spending more time on cooking (64%) and reading (43%).

Consumers’ daily routines in the US have drastically changed, with only 10% continuing on as normal, while 42% are self-isolating and 48% are social distancing. As a result, so has their interest changed in what their advertising experience looks like. 22% of respondents said they want brands to share information on how they are supporting their staff and customers during this time, and 21% want brand advertisements to include information about COVID-19. However, at the same time, 17% of consumers want ads to provide a sense of continuity and normalcy, while another 17% want ads to be funny/positive in an effort to distract from what’s going on.

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Other key findings include:

  • 53% of consumers prefer brands to communicate through TV ads;
  • 62% are spending more time on social media than they used to;
  • Only 22% of consumers are currently watching sports, while 59% are watching comedy;
  • 47% have increased their spending on home entertainment;
  • 35% of consumers are more interested in hearing about online retail (excluding food) than they were before, and 45% say their interest is the same as before;
  • 42% of 18-24 year olds would like brands to communicate through online video.

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“The pandemic has resulted in rapid, unprecedented changes in consumer behaviors and their preferences,” said Terence Scroope, VP of Insight at Unruly. “The vast majority of consumers still want to see ads, but the key to success is in the content and the way a message is conveyed. The magnitude of these changes require brands to be nimble in adapting their advertising strategies to maintain and grow connections with consumers, provide support and minimize disruption to performance.”

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