Americans are spending more time with audio on cellphones
America’s listening has shifted to cellphones, a trend Edison Research has observed for years. Its latest Infinite Dial study shows that 88% of Americans aged 16 and over own a mobile phone, and the availability of audio apps and podcast apps has increased, as has consumption on a mobile phone. Edison Research’s Share of Ear database has tracked audio consumption on various devices since our study began in 2014.
The graph below shows the percentage of all audio, not just radio content, that is consumed through a mobile device versus a traditional radio receiver. In 2014, around half (49%) of all audio content was consumed on a traditional radio receiver, compared to 18% on a mobile phone. The years that followed showed steady growth for mobile devices as time spent with traditional radio receivers dwindled.
In Q4 2021, radio receivers still had the slightest advantage over mobile, with 33% of all audio consumed on a radio and 32% on a mobile phone. With the latest release of Q3 Share of Ear data, the consumption of audio on a mobile device has just exceeded the consumption of a radio receiver, by 33.3% to 33.1%.
This chart does not refer to radio content, which can also be consumed through smart speakers, radio station apps (also on a mobile phone), SiriusXM receivers (also a form of radio content) or televisions smart. It refers to the hardware – the actual radio receivers.
Mobile devices are multimedia devices, delivering content from many sources. Radio receivers with their single-use functionality and increasingly hard to find outside of cars, simply haven’t been able to compete.