How COVID-19 pandemic is impacting media consumption 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 is providing ongoing updates on shifting consumption trends and the resulting impact on the advertising and media industries.

Digital Audience

Government: 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 per cent March 9-15 versus January 6-12, and the week of March 9-15 was up 79 per cent over the week prior. For mobile web, visits were up 671 per cent March 9-15 versus January 6-12, and March 9-15 was up 112 per cent over the week prior.

News: 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 per cent growth the week of March 9-15 versus March 2-8 and 30.9 per cent growth versus January 6-12.

Retail: 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 per cent growth versus the previous week (and the second highest week-over-week growth of the year, with the highest being 4.7 per cent growth the week of February 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. 

Travel: Looking at 20 of the top travel sites, including airlines, aggregators, hospitality, etc., travel visits declined 7.3 per cent the week of February 24 to March 1 and declined again 4.8 per cent the week of March 2-8. 

However, travel spiked the week of March 9-15, increasing 9.5 per cent. 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. 

Search: Internet searches including the terms “coronavirus,” “COVID” or “COVID-19” increased by 553,778 per cent in January 2020 – from 9,902 in December 2019 to 54.85 million in January 2020. (Source: Search Planner, Desktop Only).


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