Audio Drives e-Commerce This Holiday Season

By Entercom Insights

November 18, 2020
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Normally at this time of year, we’d see shoppers across the United States begin their annual pilgrimage to malls, local shops, and more as they get ready for the holidays. However, 2020 has been unlike any year in living memory, and this holiday season will be unprecedented as well. As Americans look to buy presents for loved ones, they’ll take their business online more than ever before. Brands that can meet those customers online with a comprehensive eCommerce strategy stand to reap huge holiday rewards. And this year, audio is the tool best-suited to drive customers from offline to screens and from digital content areas to shopping carts.

COVID-19 pandemic has dramatically accelerated the growth of online shopping. Already this year, e-commerce is up 30% according to an analysis of data from the U.S. Department of Commerce.[1] That number will only continue to grow—71% of US adults say they plan to do at least half of their holiday shopping online.[2] Growth of that magnitude won’t just go away, either.[3] If all goes as projected, eCommerce sales will grow this year to $794.5 billion.[4] “The big leap forward in eCommerce this year marks an accelerated paradigm shift away from physical retail onto our screens. Audio is the best guide for customers as they learn about products from trusted sources. It works hand and hand with retail media at a time when brands are highly competitive and brand loyalty is not as strong.” says Entercom’s VP of Direct to Consumer and Emerging Brands Stephanie Sabota.

The 2020 holiday season offers a tremendous opportunity. The shifts in holiday preparations and celebrations expand marketing’s role, bringing brands to new settings and touchpoints. That means more than revamping e-commerce; it means investing in discovery, harvesting and analyzing shopper data, and taking advanced measures to drive people from brand awareness to virtual checkout. And to bring customers to the door, there’s no medium more effective than audio.

There is significant overlap between high volume holiday shoppers and radio/digital audio listeners. Working millennial parents are twice as likely as the average US adult to spend more during the holiday, and the overwhelming majority (92%) of millennial parents are frequent radio listeners.[5],[6] They’re also listening to podcasts 26% more often than they did last year and have picked up smart speakers in record numbers during the pandemic.[7] Audiences are not just listening—they’re engaging with audio content and taking action, too. A recent study of Entercom over-the-air influencers by Veritonic revealed that 72% of Entercom listeners have made a purchase in the past after hearing about a product from their local Entercom influencer.[8] Audio, then, is an excellent way to direct listeners to a brand’s eCommerce platform.

A considered sonic strategy is the gateway to holiday success. Audio is an essential part of a smart eCommerce strategy, guiding customers from deeply engaging listening experiences to screens. Whether you represent a large brand on Amazon or a small local business with a Shopify account, brands need to streamline a customer’s experience throughout the purchase cycle. Entercom is committed to helping brands achieve this. While audio has always been in our DNA, we’re also here to craft a holistic digital experience for brands’ customers. Though we might not be able to shop or gather in person this year, we’ll be working in the virtual world, forging the best methods for brands and people to connect.

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[1] Ali, Fareeha. “Charts: How the coronavirus is changing ecommerce.” Digital Commerce 360, Aug 25, 2020.
[2] McKinsey Insights, October 26, 2020.
[3] McKinsey, Periscope, November 5, 2020.
[4] eMarketer, Q2 2020
[5] Nielsen Scarborough National Database 2020 “Release 1 Total,” Jan 2019-May 2020
[6] MRI Simmons, COVID 19 Consumer Study Wave 4, November 2020.
[7] Edison Research, Share of Ear Study, June 15, 2020
[8] Veritonic, Influencer Impact Custom Study, n=692 radio listeners, August 2020.

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