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Infinite Dial: Smart Speaker Penetration Among Listeners Continues To Rise.

One of the top takeaways from Infinite Dial 2022 was significant year-over-year gains in listening to online audio. Weekly online audio listening rose to 67% of the U.S. 12+ population in 2022, up from 62% in 2021. While much of the growth in the past decade or so has been driven by steadily rising adoption of smart devices, smartphone ownership appears to have plateaued – but at a high level.

Eighty-eight percent of the total U.S. population aged 12+ owned a smartphone (about 252 million people) at the start of 2022. That number is unchanged from 2021. Tablet ownership is also levelling off – it clocked in at around 53% of the population in 2022. But the number of smart watch owners showed a second straight year of steady gains, climbing to 20% in 2022, up from 18% in 2021 and 17% in 2020.

Meanwhile, smart speakers, another driver of digital audio consumption, have grown in penetration each year since Edison Research added them to its Infinite Dial survey in 2017. In 2022 35% of Edison’s sample of 12+ Americans say they own a smart speaker, up from 33% in 2021 and 27% in 2020. “We’ll start to see that really accelerate,” Edison Senior VP Tom Webster predicted while presenting the study results at Podcast Movement last week in Los Angeles. “But we do have currently 100 million Americans that have at least one of these devices.”

Amazon’s Alexa continues to lead with 23% penetration, with GoogleNest a distant second at 11% and Apple HomePod in third at 2%.

The devices are finding their way beyond kitchen counter tops and into living rooms and bedrooms. More than one in four smart speaker owners (26%) say they have two or three of the devices and 33% own three or more.

While the number of radios in the home continues to decline – 39% of the 12+ population says they have zero traditional radios in the home – that doesn’t mean they don’t have access to AM/FM programming. Three fourths of the population 12+ says they own a radio, a smart speaker or both. That means the number of consumers with access to AM/FM content in the home remains stable at about 75% during the past four years.

Here’s the breakout: 40% own a radio but not a smart speaker, 21% own both, 14% own a smart speaker but not a radio and 25% own neither. “If you add in the folks who have both or only a smart speaker but not a radio, that suggests that a significant proportion of the U.S. population is in fact able to listen to AM/FM radio content,” Webster said.

Meanwhile, audiobook penetration has stalled at about 45% for the past three years but Edison’s data shows the amount of time spent with the medium continues to grow.

The 2022 Infinite Dial, sponsored by Wondery and Art19, is based on a national telephone survey of 1,502 people aged 12 and older using random digit dialing techniques to both cell phones and landlines. The survey was offered in both English and Spanish with data weighted to national 12+ population figures.Download the study HERE.

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