Media Consumption during the Coronavirus Pandemic
A top-level look at how the COVID-19 pandemic is affecting audience and consumer behavior across platforms.
As the global novel Coronavirus crisis grows, consumers are making significant changes to the way they interact with content and advertising across platforms. As we adjust to this new reality, Comscore will be providing ongoing updates on shifting consumption trends and the resulting impact on the advertising and media industries.
In looking at both total digital visits (mobile and desktop) and mobile web-only visits to the CDC, NIH and WHO sites – we are seeing incredible recent growth. Total digital visits were up 425% March 9-15 vs. Jan. 6-12, and the week of March 9-15 was up 79% over the week prior. For mobile web, visits were up 671% March 9-15 vs. Jan. 6-12, and March 9-15 was up 112% over the week prior.
In looking at an aggregate of approximately 40 select news sites, the week of March 9-15 was the highest week of news visits this year, by far – more than 100 million more news visits than next highest week (which was the previous week March 2-8). We saw 23.4% growth the week of March 9-15 vs. Mar 2-8 and 30.9% growth vs. Jan. 6-12.
In looking at total digital visits to an aggregate of Amazon, Walmart and Target’s sites, we saw 779 million visits the week of March 9-15 – the highest number of visits of any week so far in 2020. We also saw 3.8% growth versus the previous week (and the second highest week-over-week growth of the year with the highest being 4.7% growth the week of Feb. 24 to March 1).
Starting at the beginning of February, Retail total visits began a steady upward climb. The highest individual days for Retail visits so far in March were March 10, March 13 and March 14, respectively.
Looking at 20 of the top travel sites, including airlines, aggregators, hospitality, etc., travel visits declined 7.3% the week of Feb. 24 to March 1 and declined again 4.8% the week of March 2-8.
However, travel spiked the week of March 9-15, increasing 9.5%. This could be due to a large number of trip cancellations occurring this week requiring visits to the travel sites to rebook or cancel plans. In addition, many major airlines and travel companies began offering inexpensive flights and deals during this time which may have driven some increased demand.
Deep Dive: Johns Hopkins Coronavirus Resource Center Tracker – Unique Visitors
To demonstrate the interest in tracking the Coronavirus, we explored unique visitation to the Johns Hopkins tracker. As you can see, the tracker experienced nearly 200% growth the week of March 2-8 vs. Jan. 6-12.
Internet searches including the terms “coronavirus,” “COVID” or “COVID-19” increased by 553,778% in Jan. 2020 – from 9,902 in Dec. 2019 to 54.85 million in Jan. 2020. (Source: Search Planner, Desktop Only)
In March, there have been over 170 Coronavirus-specific special national telecasts across eight networks. American households viewed over 18 million hours of this content. The telecast with the highest reach, viewed by over 5 million homes, was “CNN Global Town Hall - Coronavirus: Facts and Fears with Facebook and Instagram” on Thursday, March 12. That broadcast is available online on CNN’s Facebook page. (Source: TV Essentials)
The top 25 local markets saw, on average, an 11 percent increase in daily households viewing local news looking at the week of Feb. 10 vs. the week of March 9. The Seattle-Tacoma market topped the list with a 28 percent increase followed by the Los Angeles market with 19 percent and the San Francisco-Oakland-San Jose market with 18 percent. (Source: StationView Essentials. Note: Data prior to March 4 is preliminary.)
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