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When It Comes to Audio in General, People Are Listening Less

'Gone are the days when consumers purchased a single type of content, to play on a single type of device, exclusively for dedicated audio listening.'

People are listening less than they used to.

We’re used to seeing headlines like that about radio, but this one is about audio sources in general.

A majority of consumers do view music and other audio content as a vital component of daily life, according to a study from the Consumer Electronics Association. It found that 67 percent of consumers believe audio is an important part of their life and 48 percent are always listening to some form of audio content. “Overall audio consumption — whether music (73 percent), television shows, news or information sources (68 percent) — is a large part of consumers’ day-to-day lifestyle,” CEA stated.

“But the study found that consumers appear to be listening less than they were three years ago. The percentage of consumers reporting daily consumption of music has fallen to 73 percent from 91 percent while TV show audio listening has dropped to 68 percent from 81 percent since 2005. Only audio from playing games has remained stable at 34 percent.”

“Gone are the days when consumers purchased a single type of content, to play on a single type of device, exclusively for dedicated audio listening,” Steve Koenig, CEA’s director of industry analysis, said in the announcement. “Successful manufacturers are using formats that allow them to stay in front of customers who are navigating across an array of content choices.”

CEA said planned purchases in the coming 12 months are led by headphones/earbuds, portable MP3/digital audio players and home-theater-in-a-box systems. On average consumers plan to spend $242 on audio devices next year.

Consumers spend 12.5 hours each week listening to some form of audio content in the home and 14.7 hours each week listening at work.

As far as RW could find, the only mention of the word “radio” in the CEA’s summary of its report was in the context of satellite:

“Music, TV shows, news and information sources were the most common types of audio listened to at home, with the television as the most common audio source (77 percent) and the desktop PC coming in a distant second (55 percent). More consumers are using laptop computers, portable MP3/digital audio players, cell phones or satellite radio in their homes than in the past. In fact, usage of portable MP3/digital audio players has risen from 9 percent to 27 percent over the past three years and satellite radio usage increased from 4 percent to 9 percent.”

CEA also said consumers “demonstrate a preference for the multi-media experience in the home. Only a quarter of respondents said most or all of their listening time is audio-only. The majority responded they watch some video content along with their audio equipment and only 25 percent stated they would rather spend money improving their video experience than their audio experience.”