The COVID-19 pandemic has turned the auto industry on its head. Many automotive dealerships across the United States were forced to close during the stay-at-home orders that began in early March of 2020. Before auto sales were deemed essential in mid-April of 2020, car dealerships across the country were forced to shut down during the initial stay-at-home orders—causing them to lose out on a month or more of sales. Also, many businesses have closed either temporarily or permanently as a result of the COVID-19 pandemic—putting millions of Americans out of work and leading to unprecedented job loss and a recession in the U.S. People are much less likely to buy cars when they have lost their jobs and are not in financially stable positions, so COVID-19-related job loss has taken a major hit on the auto industry as well. How has automotive TV advertising been affected since the pandemic?

One surprisingly successful adaptation that many successful car dealerships have implemented in order to stay afloat during the height of the COVID-19 pandemic and in its aftermath is to invest in TV advertising. While television might seem like an outdated form of media, TV advertising has proven to still be very effective. Keep reading to learn more about the present and future of TV advertising and how automotive dealerships can use it to their advantage now and moving forward. 

TV Usage is Rising 

Over the past several years, the average amount of time people spends watching television every day has steadily declined. The average American spent 4.2 hours watching TV in 2014 and fewer than 2.3 hours watching TV in 2019.

Automotive TV Advertising Since the Pandemic

Automotive TV Advertising Since the Pandemic

This decrease is not because people in the United States are limiting their consumption of media. Many people have just switched from watching traditional TV to consuming video media through other platforms. 

Instead of watching cable TV to watch movies and shows, get updates on the daily news, etc., more and more people are turning away from the TV and toward streaming services such as Netflix and Youtube for entertainment and social media platforms like Twitter and Facebook for news updates.

However, annual TV usage increased for the first time in years in 2020 from an average of 2.3 hours daily in 2019 to an average of 2.5 hours daily in 2020. Experts assume that this increase is primarily due to more people being at home—either due to job loss or working remotely—and able to sit in front of the TV during the day rather than having to rely on their smartphones for video media. 

Additional studies show that many people who work from home are likely to continue working remotely even after the COVID-19 pandemic finally comes to an end. This leads experts to believe that the rise in TV usage that was seen in 2020 is likely to remain stable into the future as well. 

Increases in TV Advertising Pays Off 

Many of the car dealerships that have experienced the most success throughout 2020 are the dealerships that have adapted to the consequences of the COVID-19 pandemic by increasing their TV advertising investments. 

Since TV usage is estimated to continue to remain higher than it has been over the past several years moving into the future, it will likely continue to pay off for automotive dealerships to invest in television advertising. 

Even as the pandemic and its financial consequences continue, it is recommended that automotive dealerships maintain or even increase their TV advertising investments. 

Statistics show that companies who continue to invest in advertising during recessions such as the one the U.S. is currently facing as a result of the COVID-19 crisis can double their sales after the recession—and the novel coronavirus pandemic, in this case—come to an end. 

TV Views Turn to Website Visits 

It is important for automotive dealerships to continue to invest in their digital marketing campaigns as well as in TV advertising. Automotive dealerships need to continue updating their inventories and special deals on their website as well as continue increasing the digital options they offer online customers in order to remain afloat into the future. 

There is only so much that can be said about a car dealership in a short TV advertisement. Therefore, one of the primary objectives of TV advertising for automotive dealerships is to get the word out about their dealership in order to get viewers to visit their website—which should be up-to-date and of high quality to convince potential customers to buy their next vehicle from their specific dealership.