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Cumulus Media Study: Key Findings on Smart Speakers


Cumulus Media
Cumulus Media

While AM/FM radio dominates the audio landscape with mass reach and significant time spent, podcasts and smart speakers are both fast growing platforms representing engaging environments for brands. The recently released Cumulus Media 2023 Audioscape examines the podcast consumer and smart speaker trends using data from Edison Research's "Share of Ear" Report from Q4 2022. This week's Cumulus Media | Westwood One Audio Active Group blog outlines eight key findings on smart speakers.

  • Smart speaker ownership has stalled with the last growth spurt occurring Christmas 2020. From 2017 to 2019, smart speaker ownership soared from 7% to 33%. The pandemic froze purchases until Christmas 2020 when ownership jumped to 40% in Q1 2021. Since then, ownership has stalled with no post-Christmas "pop" in 2021 or 2022.

  • Smart speaker ownership rates are in the mid-40s for 13-54s but only 26% for those over the age of 55.

  • As smart speaker ownership flattens, the share of AM/FM radio streaming on smart speakers also stabilizes. The proportion of total U.S. AM/FM radio streaming occurring via the smart speaker has stabilized as device ownership growth has stalled. According to Triton Digital, since 2021, AM/FM radio streaming via smart speaker has stabilized, growing slightly from 23% to 26%.

  • Smart speakers are vital to U.S. AM/FM radio as they are now more likely to be the only "radio device" in the home. Edison's 2022 Infinite Dial study revealed that 40% of smart speaker owners do not have a radio in their home, up from 28% in 2018.

  • With an 82% penetration of smart speaker homes, Amazon Alexa is the dominant smart speaker device. 30% of smart speaker homes have a Google Home. 12% of homes own both devices.

  • Given Alexa's dominant device footprint, it is no surprise that Amazon Music is the most-listened-to platform on smart speakers. According to Edison's "Share of Ear" Q4 2022, 22% of all tuning minutes on smart speakers goes to Amazon Music.

  • Aggressive promotion pays off as AM/FM radio is number one for smart speaker ad-supported audio shares. AM/FM radio stations are consistently number one in ad-supported audio shares on smart speaker devices. No wonder, as streaming now represents 20% of all time spent to AM/FM radio.

  • As with podcast listening, smart speaker ownership over-indexes in top markets and under-indexes in smaller markets. In the top 10 DMAs, smart speaker ownership is 12% more likely than average. In markets 51 and smaller, ownership is 20% less likely.

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