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TechSurvey 2022: Mobile Apps Still Gaining in Popularity

But new survey shows Smart Speaker growth has stalled

Mobile devices and apps continue their strong growth trajectory, according to TechSurvey 2022. The annual survey of core radio listeners by Jacobs Media shows radio station apps are playing a larger role among those who listen to streaming audio.

More than 90% of respondents to this year’s survey own a Smartphone, and those devices are playing a bigger role in how people stream radio stations, according to TechSurvey. 

“The number of radio listeners streaming audio from their P1 station’s website is going down. Meanwhile, more people are using that radio station’s mobile app to stream their audio,” said Fred Jacobs, president of Jacobs Media. “Mobile has in fact become more important.”

The most popular app among those respondents with a Smartphone, according to TechSurvey, is their P1 station’s mobile app, with 56% of respondent having downloaded it on their phone or tablet. The most popular apps list also includes YouTube (48%), Pandora (42%), Spotify (40%), iHeartRadio (32%) with TuneIn further down the list (11%).

The survey shows seven in 10 respondents have downloaded a radio or music app to their Smartphone, and those numbers range by age from a low of 40% (Greatest Generation) to a high of 89% (Gen Z).  

Growth of Smart Speakers, while still an important audio outlet, has flattened, according to TS 2022. Ownership of Amazon Alexa or Google Home devices ranked at 35% in TS 2022 with no growth in that percentage from the previous year.

“From our previous focus groups, when we have talked to folks about Smart Speakers and the reason why they haven’t bought one yet, most often the number one reason is privacy. They don’t like the idea of something listening to their private conversations,” Jacobs said. “Smart Speakers are gaining a reputation and image for being invasive from a privacy standpoint. And Google and Apple will have to figure out how to market around that issue.” 

For those survey respondents who already own a Smart Speaker, the use of it can be quite varied, but listening to music has two of the top three spot, according to TS 2022. The number one option for those who frequently use their device is streaming music (Pandora, Amazon Music, etc.) But in the top three is listening to an AM/FM radio station.    

“So when you think about AM/FM radios disappearing from the home and Smart Speakers appearing in the home, this is another great reason why radio stations need to be promoting their presence,” Jacobs said.   

Millenials listen to their P1 station on Smart Speaker about 8% of the time during a typical week. That number drops to 6% for Boomers, according to TS 2022.

Jacobs Media, whose Jācapps mobile app development company designs apps for radio stations, shares the full results with the 470 radio stations in the United States that participated in the survey.

This is the fifth in a series of stories examining the results from TechSurvey 2022. Click here to read part four.