Podcasting and smart speakers are two media that, according to TechSurvey 2021, appear to have been unaffected by COVID, holding fast to their established growth trajectories.
This year, there was a growth of three percentage points, from 26 to 29% of those who listen to podcasts daily or weekly. No surprise, the charge was led by the younger demographics of Millennials and Gen Z.
Although podcasting has grown from a grassroots movement to adoption by mainstream media, the secret sauce for rapid growth remains to be discovered. 42% of TS 2021 respondents never listen to podcasts, while 20% tune in less often than monthly. Looking back five years to TS 2016, there has been a shift of 10 percentage points in each direction over the past five years, meaning the number of never or less-than-monthly respondents has dropped from 72 to 62%, while the daily/weekly/monthly number has increased from 28 to 38%.
Smart speaker ownership experienced meteoric growth in the past, but slowed down over the past year, according to TS 2021, increasing just two percentage points from 33 to 35%.
A few years back, some media analysts predicted smart speaker sales might hit an invisible wall until privacy concerns about the devices were resolved. Issues such as who has access to the recordings and how they are used have yet to be addressed in a credible manner.
The recent announcement of Amazon Sidewalk, an opt-out wireless mesh service will share a small segment of consumer’s internet bandwidth with nearby Sidewalk-capable devices that don’t have connectivity may only serve to raise concerns over smart speakers and privacy.
What is increasing steadily, the survey says, are the numbers who own two or more smart speakers. The TS 2018 report said that just 42% of smart speaker owners had two or more of these devices. That number has steadily increased to 61% for TS 2021.
What do people do with their smart speakers? According to the Jacobs survey, most of them listen to streaming music, 37%, according to the survey data. That is followed by listening to an AM/FM radio station, say 31% of those surveyed.