Radio Plays a Part in the Future of Retail

Author: Victor Texcucano, Content Coordinator, RAB

COVID-19 fears and restrictions have helped establish several new trends in the world of retail. Since the rise of e-commerce over the past decade or so, shopping has evolved to become much faster and much more convenient.

The main adopters of these new retail trends are millennials and Gen Zers, who are flocking to one particular trend that is used in both e-commerce and in-store shopping: BNPL.

BNPL, also known as buy now pay later, is an extremely attractive option for younger consumers, because BNPL is a more attractive option to shopping with credit cards that often charge significant  interest fees.

The BNPL platform allows customers to purchase items on installment plans with no interest. This is giving a chance to young consumers to purchase high-ticket items like technology, high-end cosmetics or designer clothing.

Younger consumers have given life to companies offering BNPL with huge valuations, like Klarna, valued at $46 billion, and AfterPay, which was acquired by Square in 2021 for $29 billion, according to Reuters.

Social media is influencing the majority of U.S. consumers retail purchases, including over 80% of younger consumers, according to a 2021 McKinsey holiday shopping report. The main influencers on younger consumers are Facebook, YouTube, Instagram and TikTok.

Other than using social media to promote local establishments to these younger consumers, radio is the perfect complementary medium. Not only does radio help amplify the message of other media, it, along with the on-air personalities, are powerful influencers among this group.

Radio can help advertisers take advantage of these new retail trends, as radio reaches 79% of consumers 18-34, according to Nielsen. This age group is the most likely to take advantage of the BNPL trend. Radio’s reach jumps to 82% for the full-time employed cohorts.

It’s not just about Gen Zers when it comes to retail shoppers. In today’s competitive environment, retailers understand the importance of reaching consumers across all age groups. Radio also reaches 87% of all adults 18+ who spent at least $100 on clothing/shoes, and 86% of adults 18+ who shopped at a department, clothing, shoe or specialty store in the past 30 days, per Scarborough.

According to Adobe, 2021 holiday U.S. consumer spending online grew 8.6% year-over-year to a record $204.5 billion. Total 2021 online consumer spending increased 9%, to a whopping $855 billion. 

Another recent retail trend advanced by the COVID-19 pandemic was BOPIS. BOPIS, also known as buy online pickup in store (and sometimes as click-and-collect), gives consumers the option to shop online while eliminating the need to wait for their packages to arrive. According to a May 2021 Business Insider article, U.S. shoppers spent $72.46 billion using click-and-collect in 2020, representing a 107% growth rate over 2019. A study from Avionos, which surveyed 750 U.S. consumers in November 2021, revealed that 41% of respondents have purchased an item online for in-store or curbside pickup in the past six months alone.

Additionally, 34% of consumers said they purchased an item in-store that they had originally seen online. This is an example of how shopping is becoming a hybrid experience, so retailers need to think about how to merge online and in-store shopping to form a seamless experience.

When it comes to targeting shoppers that prefer this manner of shopping, broadcast radio fits the bill. Sixty-five percent of adults 18+ who have used or will continue to use curbside pickup are broadcast radio listeners, as per the December 2021 MRI-Simmons COVID-19 study.

These numbers are too big for businesses to ignore. Radio can drive traffic in-store and online – meeting consumers where they are and how they now prefer to shop.


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