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As Smart Speaker Ownership Hovers At 40%, AM/FM Dominates Its Ad-supported Audio.

AM/FM radio has the largest share of ad-supported audio on smart speakers – commanding nearly 40% of time spent, more than doubling the nearest competitor – while smart speaker ownership has quintupled since 2017, hitting a 40% high during the first quarter of 2021. These are some of the findings from research reported in the latest entry of Westwood One's “Everyone's Listening” blog.

“If the pandemic slowed adoption during the first half of 2020, since then, smart speaker ownership growth has resumed,” Cumulus Media Insights Manager Brittany Faison says, pointing to Edison Research data showing higher numbers since the lockdown, reaching 40% penetration for the first time during Q1 2021. While just 7% percent of Americans owned a smart speaker at the beginning of 2017, that number has increased over five times to where it currently stands.

Examining just at ad-supported media, Edison's “Share of Ear” data for persons 13+ shows AM/FM holds a commanding 39% of audio time spent on smart speakers, far ahead of 19% for ad-supported Pandora and podcasts' 18%. Looking at total share of time spent for all smart speaker listening, AM/FM and SiriusXM, both at 13%, are second only to Amazon Music, leading with 19%.

While all dayparts except for overnights claim over 20% of time spent listening on smart speakers, middays take the largest share, nearing 30%. Over 90% of smart speaker listening takes place at home, a number that's actually gone up since the pandemic. And Nielsen Scarborough data cited in Westwood One's blog shows smart speaker owners index higher than the total U.S population when it comes to household incomes over $100,000, white-collar employment, and holding a college graduate or post-graduate degree.

Not surprisingly, Amazon's Alexa rules the market, with the latest Edison research showing it's in the homes of four in five smart speaker owners, vs. one-third of owners who have Google Home. Two-thirds of smart speaker owners have only Alexa while 20% only have Google, with 14% owning both. While consumers in the top 10 markets are 12% more likely to own smart speakers, according to Nielsen Scarborough, ownership indexes higher across the top 50 DMAs.Tech hubs and mid-size markets like Salt Lake City, Seattle, Austin, and San Diego have risen to the top for smart speaker ownership,” Faison says.

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