With COVID quarantine restrictions lifted in some areas, audio listening is shifting from the home and back into the car, new data from Edison Research shows. The listening location data from Share of Ear sheds some light on which locations U.S. listeners are currently consuming audio in.
Before global health officials in early March declared the coronavirus a pandemic, roughly one third (32%) of all audio in the U.S. was consumed in car. When government-ordered restrictions went into place in Q2 – erasing many Americans’ commutes and greatly reducing travel in general – in-car listening plummeted by 38%, accounting for only 20% of all listening. This caused at-home listening in Q2 to soar from 49% of all listening to 70% of all listening, an increase of 43%.
The latest research from Share of Ear, conducted in early September, shows a shift back to the car as quarantine restrictions have been lifted by varying degrees across the country. In-car listening grew from 20% in Q2 to 28% today, approaching but not quite equaling the pre-COVID level of 32% of all listening.
That Q3 increase of in-car audio consumption corresponds with a decrease at home, where listening levels fell from 70% in Q2 (the beginning of quarantine) to 59% of all listening today.
While at-home listening is lower than during the Q2 lockdowns, it is still 10 points higher than pre-COVID listening. “With a U.S. workforce that has seen many employees transition to home office environments, future surveys will bear out whether or not this is a permanent shift,” Edison says in a news release.
Meanwhile, there is an uptick in at-work listening. When quarantine restrictions began in Q2, at-work listening fell by almost half, from 15% of all listening to 8%. The latest research from Edison in Q3 shows at-work listening has slightly rebounded, growing from 8% to 10% of all audio consumption, an increase of 25%.
The new numbers are based on interviews conducted during October 2020.