The COVID-19 virus impacts starting in March had unprecedented effects on the economy, business, and as a result, had a massive impact on marketers. Almost instantly, the marketing facts that we deemed “recent” or “true” became obsolete.
Everything changed in March. As businesses start to reopen in June and July, we decided it was time to look back on the stats revealed during COVID-19 to see the impacts on marketing and the economy as a whole. We sorted them by month because the situation evolved so rapidly that what was true in March was not so relevant in May.
It was mid-March when the first distancing and isolation messages began to spread. By the end of March, most businesses had shut down. Most of these stats reflect early shut down sentiments and challenges.
- Just 28.8% of Americans said they have jobs that enable them to work from home. (Bureau of Labor Statistics)
- Media consumption was expected to increase by 60% during the COVID-19 crisis. (Nielsen)
- By late March, 39% of social media users polled said they were already spending more time on social media. (Valassis)
- In late March, WhatsApp saw a 40% increase in usage. (Kantar)
- As in-person social interaction plummeted, messaging apps increased in usage across all messaging platforms. This lift was greatest in the 18-34 age group. WhatsApp, Facebook, and Instagram have all experienced a 40%+ increase in usage from this age group. (Kantar)
- In places hit hardest by the virus (like NYC), voice and video calling doubled on Messenger and WhatsApp. (Facebook)
- Radio made a comeback. Radio listenership is up, with 28% of those surveyed saying they are listening to more radio than they did before the pandemic, and 42% of listeners saying radio is helping them to deal with the outbreak. (Nielsen)
- 89% of Gen Z and Millennials expected brands to take action to help with Coronavirus. (YPulse)
- 84% of Gen Z and millennials agree with the statement, “brands have just as much responsibility as everyone else in helping to stop the spread of the Coronavirus.” (YPulse)
- Shoppers expect the brands they choose to look after their employees (a part of company culture) with 78% saying take care of employees’ health (Kantar)
- 28% of workers say they are currently working from home, and many of them have worked remotely in the past. (YouGov)
- Click-thru-rates for all brand accounts has dropped by 17.2% since the new year. (Social Baker)
- Good news! Organic posts had increased slightly across all regions (Europe, Asia, North America) since the start of the year (as of late March). (Social Baker)
- Facebook saw a drop in paid ad revenue in countries currently taking actions to reduce the spread of the COVID-19. (CNBC)
- Brands saw that ads featuring people kissing, holding hands, embracing, and touching are down 27.4% (Pattern89).
- There was a 52% increase in ad spend in the news sector. (Influencer Marketing Hub)
- Ad spend on eCommerce doubled in the US in the period between mid-February and early-March. (Influencer Marketing Hub)
- We saw a 30% increase in traffic to media sites.
- Streaming during the month of March climbed 26% in the U.S. (Conviva)
- 43% of buyers find it reassuring to hear from brands they “know and trust” as the COVID-19 pandemic spread. (4A’s)
- 40% want to know how companies are responding to the coronavirus pandemic.(4A’s)
- 15% say they didn’t want to hear from companies in March. (4A’s)
- 43% of consumers said coronavirus messages from brands sound too similar and “are losing their impact.” (4A’s)
In April, we began to settle into isolation, and the routines that social distancing changed. Businesses who were forced to close began to suffer the financial realities of not being open. The first wave of stimulus checks began to hit individuals’ bank accounts and the botched small business assistance programs.
- 43% of small businesses said they’d be forced to close permanently if they don’t get help soon (Marketwatch) as of April 13, 2020.
- Half of small businesses said they may close within two weeks (com) April 3, 2020.
- 77% of consumers wanted you to talk about how your brand can help them. (Kantar)
- 75% want ads that serve to inform them about your efforts to face this crisis. (Kantar)
- 75% say brands shouldn’t exploit the situation to promote themselves. (Kantar)
- 40% say humor is the wrong way to handle all of this (Kantar)
- 11% of those polled reported serious financial problems, to the point they’re not sure if they’ll be able to meet their basic needs. (Business Insider)
- 20% say they’re having some financial hardship and things may be tight for the next few weeks. (Business Insider)
- 21% reported slight financial hardships that are causing them to cut back on their spending a bit. (Business Insider)
- 20% reported light financial hardship that may cause a problem or two, but it’s nothing out of the ordinary. (Business Insider)
- 25% of Americans (that’s more than 40 million people) aren’t experiencing any financial hardships as a result of this global pandemic. (Business Insider)
- 86% of social media consumers would still recommend influencer marketing as a means of marketing products, even during this crisis. (The Shelf)
- 6 in 10 consumers expected their usage of YouTube to increase. (The Shelf)
In May, there were glimmers of hope regarding reopening and many states raced ahead to reopen. There were protests to reopen the economy across the country. Some businesses shuttered their doors for good as the full effects of the pandemic set in.
- More than 100,000 businesses have closed forever (The Washington Post) as of May 12, 2020.
- 31% of small and medium-sized businesses (SMBs) have shut down in the last three months (Facebook)
- 52% of self-employed people have shut down their businesses (55% of which are women-owned) (Facebook)
- 40% of SMBs say their cash outflow is greater than cash inflow (for service-oriented SMBs that number rose to 49% and construction-related SMBs, 55%). (Facebook)
- 40% of owner-managed SMBs are facing supply chain challenges.(Facebook)
I’m sure we will see more May stats come in as June progresses. It will also be interesting to see what June brings between the reopening process of many states and the waves of protests. 2020 will be a year for the history books, for marketers and beyond.
Let us know what you think:
- Are we missing key stats in this list?
- Should we continue to update it as we get more stats?
- What do you think June’s stats will reveal?