Listening on a mobile device now accounts for 30% of all time spent listening to audio by persons aged 13+ in the U.S., according to the latest Share of Ear report from Edison Research. Listening on a mobile device has shot up 67% since Edison’s Share of Ear study began tracking audio consumption among Americans in 2014.
The gap between listening on a traditional radio receiver and a mobile device among persons aged 13+ has narrowed remarkably quickly since 2014. While 31 percentage points separated the two in 2014, only five percentage points separate the two today.
The traditional AM/FM radio receiver does account for the largest share of audio consumed but has decreased the most since the survey began, now accounting for 35% of all audio consumption compared to 49% in 2014.
The new data shows mobile devices have already surpassed traditional radio receivers with younger demographics. Among 13- to 34-year-olds, 46% of total daily audio consumption is done on a mobile device and 20% occurs on a traditional AM/FM radio receiver.
Keep in mind that these stats speak to device only, not the audio product that is delivered by the device. Mobile devices can deliver a wide range of audio products, including radio station programming.
“Mobile devices, particularly of course the phone, have been gaining on the traditional radio receiver as the primary listening device for as long as we have been measuring Share of Ear, but with the disruptions of the last year the gap has narrowed dramatically,” Edison Research President Larry Rosin said in a statement. “As fewer people have a standard radio receiver in their homes these days, naturally more listening comes through digital devices.”
COVID-19 disruptions meant Americans spent more time consuming audio at home in 2020 and less time consuming audio in-car, the prime location for listening to a traditional AM/FM receiver, which could explain some of the change in the past year. Last June Edison reported the at-home share of time spent listening to audio increased 44% during the coronavirus disruptions. And in July, Edison came out with research showing that the total daily share of time spent listening on digital devices by those age 13+ in the U.S. had surpassed the share of time spent listening on traditional, more linear devices.
The research firm says further data analysis in the coming year will be needed to see if these audio habits remain post-quarantine.
To track Share Of Ear, Edison conducts a nationally representative study of Americans ages 13 and older to measure their time spent listening to audio sources. Respondents complete a 24-hour diary of their audio listening on an assigned day. Diaries are completed both online and by-mail using a paper diary. Diaries are offered in both English and Spanish. The Share of Ear study is released quarterly, and full results are available on a subscription basis.