The 4 Biggest Updates to Listener Lifestyles

Based on an Exclusive Pandora Listener Study

As we organize our sweatpants into daytime and nighttime piles (it’s a thing), consumers everywhere have seemingly adjusted into a lifestyle fit for a new era. With spikes and potential lockdowns looming ahead—again—we have to ask ourselves: what’s next?

Over the past nine months, we have continuously kept in touch with our listeners to see how they’re doing, what they expect from brands, and how music plays a role in their ever changing day-to-day lives. (See: SoundCheck)

As we close out ‘the year that never ended’ and enter a fresh 2021, we reached out to our listeners one last time to check in and see how things have changed. (More about our Soundboard studies below).

The takeaway? Consumer habits have seen some significant shifts since March. Here are our 4 biggest consumer updates:

1. Listeners Have Reached New Online Comfort Levels

Many aspects of everyday life have migrated online, and consumers have increased their comfort levels in more ways than one. We have been forced to shop differently—reprioritizing what is essential and swapping the checkout line for online shopping more than ever before.

  • Nearly twice as many listeners are spending more time shopping online (53% vs. 28% March).
    • African Americans 18+ : +30% since March
    • Hispanic Americans 18+: +27% since March
  • In March, on-shelf/in-store product availability was crucial due to the initial onset of out-of-stock frenzy. Now, 70% of listeners say that product accessibility online is currently their number one ask from brands. In comparison, product availability on the shelf has seen a 15% decrease.
  • New brand discovery is on the rise, not only due to out-of-stock products but also due to more time to research. For many listeners, increased time at home has brought new brands to light.
    • 33% said they tried a new brand when the original wasn't available/in stock
    • 23% said they found a brand that offered better prices/deals
    • 22% said they had more time to research and learn more about brands/products
  • Nearly twice as many listeners are now spending more time ordering delivery/pickup from restaurants, a 23% increase since March. Through closures and restrictions, consumers still managed to fulfill their cravings.
    • African Americans 18+ : +21% since March
    • Hispanic Americans 18+: +21% since March
    • Asian 18+: +18% since March
  • 62% have eaten at or ordered from a restaurant using curbside pickup in the past month
  • 48% have eaten at or ordered from a restaurant using delivery in the past month

2. Audio Is The Constant Pulse Throughout 2020 Routines have undoubtedly changed, BUT the one thing that remains the same is love for music and streaming audio. Sound can change our mood and release the stress we are all dealing with, so it's no surprise that audio has been the constant pulse throughout 2020. Music's role isn't going to change for consumers—it'll continue to be the soundtrack to people's lives.

  • Consumers are unsurprisingly sick of the news, and are turning to music to provide a temporary escape.
    • Overall, 47% of listeners spend even more time listening to music on streaming audio (a 5% increase since March).
      • African Americans 18+ : +3% since March
      • Hispanic Americans 18+: +9% since March
      • Asian 18+: +23% since March
  • 77% of listeners say music relieves stress and anxiety
  • With increased time spent at home, 70% of listeners listen to their favorite music tracks solo (an 11% increase since March) while 50% of parents, on the other hand, are still spending more time co-listening to baby shark with their children on repeat.

As we mentioned above, news has slowly declined since the original spike at the beginning of March.

  • Spending more time reading new stories- Down 16%
  • Spending more time watching the news- Down 13%

3. Gettin' Down with Discounts With many listeners still working remotely and unable to go back to work, they look to brands to make life just a bit easier. Brands have the opportunity to give consumers the gift of one less thing to worry about.

  • 62% of listeners want brands to give them products and services that make their lives easier
  • 58% want discounts on products and services from brands, up +13% from March
    • African Americans 18+: 72% INDEX 123
    • Hispanic Americans 18+: 66% INDEX 114
    • Asian 18+: 80% INDEX 138
  • 41% would like brands to offer flexibility for different financial circumstances (e.g., flexible payment options and discounts).
    • African Americans 18+ : 59% INDEX 144
    • Hispanic Americans 18+: 57% INDEX 139
    • Asian 18+ : 50% INDEX 122

4. The Future is Looking Bright-er 2021 is still cloudy, but we can see the sun peaking through. Listeners are looking forward to a time when they can finally feel comfortable going out to dinner, traveling, and simply gathering with their family and friends again. Once an effective COVID-19 vaccine is distributed and cases are no longer spreading throughout the country, we asked listeners which activities they are most excited to resume.

  • 70% Visiting friends & family
  • 60% Traveling domestically
  • 52% Going to bars/restaurants
  • 48% Going to live concerts/shows
  • 41% Going to the movies
  • 36% Shopping in person
  • 35% Large parties/gatherings
  • 33% Large celebrations (e.g. weddings)
  • 33% Traveling internationally

2020 has changed us all, flipped our daily routines inside out, and forced us to think and react differently. So, how can brands stand out? It's important to understand your target audience and identify how they have been affected. New comfort levels have formed and habits continue to shift since earlier this year. These insights allow marketers to identify ways to create brand messages that resonate in a meaningful way. Audio has been the constant pulse throughout 2020 and continues to provide listeners with the escape and joy they crave. As we enter 2021, it's essential to include streaming audio in overall campaign strategies in order to reach these audiences through the music they love.

Source: Pandora Soundboard, COVID-19 Poll, (N=2,092) November 2020; Pandora Soundboard, COVID-19 Poll, (N=1,995), March 2020 Note: Indices calculated vs. total listeners 18+