Smart Speaker Ownership Linked to Higher Consumption of AM/FM Radio

May 29, 2018

Streaming music is one of the more popular uses of Smart Speakers, per recent research, but what’s the source of the music? As it turns out, a substantial portion of AM/FM radio listeners have increased their consumption of AM/FM radio stations since they obtained a Smart Speaker, according to the latest annual TechSurvey from Jacobs Media [download page].

The survey was fielded among almost 64,300 listeners of 567 AM/FM radio stations in the US and Canada. Some 21% of respondents reported owning a Smart Speaker, almost doubling the share (11%) from last year’s survey.

Among Smart Speaker owners, about one-quarter (26%) regularly listen to music from an AM/FM radio station on their device, and about 1 in 6 (16%) listen to news or talk from an AM/FM radio station.

Interestingly enough, Smart Speaker owners are almost three times as likely to say that they listen to more AM/FM radio (19%) since getting their devices than to say they’re listening to less (7%).

The 19% listening to more AM/FM radio is relatively consistent across genders, generations, and races/ethnicities. However, Gen Z (29%) respondents stand out as being the most likely to have upped their listening time on account of owning a Smart Speaker, with multicultural groups also more apt than their Caucasian counterparts to have done so.

(It’s worth remembering that these results are based on a sample of AM/FM radio listeners, so may not apply to all Smart Speaker owners.)

Radio Ownership Declining

It’s possible that Smart Speakers will grow to replace conventional radios, judging by the report’s results. That’s because the penetration of Smart Speakers, although still in relative infancy, is moving in a different direction than ownership of regular radios.

This year 83% of AM/FM radio listeners report having a regular radio in working condition where they live that they use. That’s down from 88% last year and 89% the year before.

Tellingly, it’s Millennials that are the least likely to own and use a radio where they live: just 68% reported that to be the case, compared to 81% of Gen Xers, 90% of Boomers and 94% of Silents.

These trends are backed up by the recent Infinite Dial report released by Edison Research and Triton Digital. In that survey of Americans ages 12 and older, 29% reported not owning a radio in the home, up from 4% a decade earlier. Moreover, fully half of 18-34-year-olds said they didn’t own a radio, up from 6% in 2008.

The Car and AM/FM Radio Go Hand in Hand

If only 83% of AM/FM radio listeners own and listen to a regular radio at their home, where else are they listening? The car.

In fact, the leading reason for listeners to tune in to the radio is that it’s easiest to listen to in the car, per 69% of respondents. When in the car, an average of 62% of respondents’ time is spent with AM/FM radio.

Moreover, almost half (46%) of respondents’ radio listening overall is estimated to take place in the car, per the report, as 54% of AM/FM radio listeners say that most (34%) or all (20%) of their weekday listening happens in the car.

A slide deck containing the highlights from the report can be downloaded here.

About the Data: The survey was fielded from January 16 – February 26, 2018. Most respondents are members of station databases. Some responses were gathered via station websites and/or social networking pages. All responses were collected online and weighted using Nielsen 2017 market populations data. As it is a web survey, the results do not necessarily represent all radio listeners or even each station’s audience. It is not stratified to the U.S./Canadian populations.

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