Wednesday, November 23, 2022

Edison: Radio Dominates In-Car Audio Listening

AAA predicts that 89% of Thanksgiving visitors in the U.S. will travel via automobile -- almost 49 million people. And regardless of the distance of the journey, many will be listening to audio on the way.

Edison Research’s Share of Ear® data shows how much time Americans typically spend with each audio device when they are listening in-car. The graphic below shows that among those 13+ who listen in-car, the majority of time (58%) is spent listening through a traditional AM/FM radio receiver. Twenty-one percent of the time is spent with mobile, 16% with a satellite receiver, and 4% with a CD player.

Gen Z listeners (age 13-24) spend around twice the average time listening through a mobile device in-car: 43% compared with 21% for those age 13+. But traditional AM/FM radio narrowly takes the top spot for in-car listening device for Gen Z at 48%. This might come as a surprise for everyone who knows that Gen Z listeners prefer mobile phones for audio listening overall, and they do; but the in-car environment is different, and young listeners spend almost half of their in-car listening time with an AM/FM radio receiver.

Listeners age 25-54 spend over half their in-car listening time with traditional AM/FM radio (55%), 26% with a mobile device, and 14% with satellite. If we group AM/FM and satellite together as “radio,” then those age 25-54 spend 69% of their in-car listening time with radio receivers.

Satellite posts its best numbers with those age 55+, who spend 23% of their in-car listening with a satellite receiver. When combined with traditional AM/FM radio (66%), those age 55+ spend 89% of their in-car listening time with a radio receiver. This group spends five percent of their in-car audio time with a mobile device.

For all demos, CD players are hanging on in the low single digits for time spent listening in-car.

Edison notes one shouldn’t assume that the driver is making the audio choices in-car for everyone, since it is plausible that a parent could be in the front seat, for example, while a child is listening on their mobile phone through earbuds. One also can’t assume that only one thing can be listened to in the car at one time.

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