How The Pandemic is Fragmenting The Audio Audience

Wake up, brush your teeth, shower, get dressed, hop in the car, tune into the radio, drive to work, work, leave work, hop in the car, tune into the radio, and arrive at home. The pre-pandemic routine. Now it is wake up, maybe brush your teeth, don’t shower, stay in your pajamas, turn on your favorite playlist/show/podcast, work from home all week. Personal hygiene habits have changed, but so has the way we consume radio:

  • 75% of Americans changed their routine due to the pandemic
  • +32% – increase in average daily audio streaming hours
  • 70% – amount of audio listening happening in-home in May 2020 (vs. 50% at beginning of 2020)

To add yet another challenge for advertisers, there are more ways to reach consumers with more time is spent at home on multiple devices and less time in the car commuting to work. Consider, also, the increase in distractions at home with plenty of video options.

  • Growth in Daily Time Spent Listening to Audio by Device
    • +4% Mobile
    • +6% Connected TV
    • +43% Smart Speaker
    • +54% PC/Desktop

When the pandemic ends, will people return to their old ways? Or will they continue their new habits developed while working from home? Most likely, we will see a mix of both.

Some people can’t wait to get out of their homes and back to the office. That crowd will fall back into their old ways: traditional radio listeners on their morning and evening commutes. On the other hand, some people will continue to listen to their robust library of music or podcasts they’ve built while at home over the past year or so.

Fragmentation is the industry norm these days. Radio followed suit and now it looks like the pandemic has fragmented the listening audience by usage habits.

Perhaps we can analyze the consumer mindset when in a home environment versus an office or commute. It will be important to understand the psychographics of these different audiences, and then find creative ways to isolate the “new” versus “old” habit audiences and message them appropriately.






Pandora’s 2021 Definitive Guide to Audio

The Smart Audio Report, Spring 2020

Comscore, US Audio Streaming Hours, June 2020

Edison Research Share of Ear Q2, May 2020 Update

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