Is app-based radio taking the place of traditional listening in the US?
May 29th, 2023, Kineree Shah

Is app-based radio taking the place of traditional listening in the US?

Traditional radio continues to play a significant role in the day-to-day lives of many US consumers. According to data from YouGov Profiles, an audience intelligence tool, one-fifth of (22%) Americans report listening to FM radio for 1-2 hours each day.

But while FM remains popular, there is also a significant group of people who listen to the radio on their telephones. One in five (20%) US consumers who listen to radio for more than an hour daily do so using their smartphones. This pattern is even more evident among adults aged 25 to 34 (37% of them do so), pointing to the potential for phones to become an increasingly important medium for radio consumption as generations age.

In this piece we also seek to understand the activities US consumers engage in while listening to radio on their smartphones. Half of consumers report that they listen to the radio while relaxing at home, suggesting a strong association between radio consumption and downtime. Two in five (40%) said they listen while working, while a similar proportion (40%) reported tuning in while cooking. Over a third (37%) of respondents reported listening to the radio while exercising, and a similar percentage (36%) listen while driving.

Our data further reveals that, despite being avid radio listeners, this audience does not necessarily rank radio advertising as the amongst the most attention-grabbing mediums. Online platforms, including apps, social networks, and websites, are among the most impactful advertising channels according to this demographic’s perceptions, matching the significance of TV (22% each).

A somewhat surprising standout in our findings is the enduring effectiveness of direct mail. One in ten (11%) Americans who listen to radio for more than an hour daily on their phones reported that flyers, letters, and coupon envelopes grab their attention, underscoring the continued relevance of this often-overlooked advertising channel.

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Methodology: YouGov Profiles is based on continuously collected data and rolling surveys, rather than from a single limited questionnaire. Profiles data for the US market is nationally representative and weighted by age, gender, education, region, and race. Learn more about Profiles.  

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