Edison released several data points for the audio industry to consider since the data provides insight into U.S. listener behavior during COVID-19 restrictions.
Listening moved to the home; share increased by 44%
Edison Research measures the location of all listening, and the table below shows the share of time spent with audio by location. Findings show that while total time spent listening was only slightly lower during the COVID-19 disruptions in the United States, there was a considerable shift in where that audio consumption happened. While 48.5% of all listening occurred at home before COVID-19 (and this finding has been very consistent since Share of Ear began in 2014), 70.0% of all listening was at-home in May. All three other locations – car, work and ‘other’ — dropped.
“It’s important to recognize that our survey asks where the respondent is when they are listening to audio – not what they are doing,” said Edison Research director Laura Ivey. “The shift to ‘work-from-home’ for so many, especially office workers who tend to spend a lot of time with audio, is clearly reflected.”
Podcasts and Smart Speakers Achieve New All-Time High Shares of Ear
The enormous changes in daily life for so many Americans led to changes in what people are listening to and what device they are using to access their audio.
Podcasting’s Share of Ear jumped significantly – up 26% from the Quarter 1 2020 report to this new update. During COVID-19 restrictions, 5.4% of all time spent with audio was with podcasts, up from 4.3% in Q1. While podcasting share increases with every update, this represents an all-time high for podcast listening share of all audio.
Smart Speakers also hit a new high, with its share leaping by more than 40% (albeit from a relatively low base). During COVID-19 restrictions, 5.3% of all time spent with audio was through a smart speaker, up from 3.7% in Q1.
“The movement of so much listening to the home changed the shares of many platforms and devices,” said Ivey. “It will be fascinating to see how these numbers continue to develop as American life evolves during and, eventually, after this pandemic period ends.”