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Routines Changed By COVID Mean More News Consumption On Smart Speakers.

Three-quarters of Americans 18+ (77%) say their routines have changed due to COVID-19 – and their media habits have changed in response. The global pandemic has “impacted just about everybody, young and old, men and women and especially parents with children in the house,” Edison Research Senior VP Tom Webster said Thursday while presenting results from the fourth annual Smart Audio Report from NPR and Edison Research.

Forty-one percent of U.S. adults say they are staying at home and not leaving unless it is an emergency, and 54% are only going to places they feel safe and/or are necessary.

More than one-fourth of the U.S. population 18+ (26%) says they are working from home and that their routine has changed due to COVID-19. Another group about half that size says their work has been eliminated, reduced or postponed until further notice.

With tens of millions of Americans no longer starting their day by jumping in the car and heading to work, listening behaviors have also changed. “We see listening starting later in the day and we see a growth in midday listening,” said NPR VP of New Platform Partnerships Joel Sucherman, who joined Webster on the webinar to provide color commentary on the report.

The national online survey of 1,660 U.S. adults age 18 and older found that news is more important than ever with those who have experienced the most disruption.

Among the 24% of the U.S. population age 18+ (about 60 million people) that own a smart speaker, the percentage who ever listened to news on their smart speaker jumped to 62% in spring 2020, up from 55% one year earlier. And the amount of time they’re doing that has gone up. Last year 70% of smart speaker owners who listen to news on the device spent more than an hour doing that in a typical week. This year the percentage shot up to 75%.

In addition, 35% of U.S. adult smart speaker owners say they are listening to more news and information since the COVID-19 outbreak. Young people in particular are listening to more news as a result of the pandemic, with 50% of 18-34s indicating increased news consumption since the onset of COVID-19.

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