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Record Numbers of Americans Tune into Online Audio and Podcasts

The Infinite Dial® 2023 by Edison Research, in partnership with Amazon Music, Wondery, and ART19, has found that the proportion of Americans who listen to online audio and podcasts has reached an all-time high. This year marks the 25th anniversary of the study, which has been monitoring digital media consumption in the United States since 1998. Edison Research President Larry Rosin and Vice President Megan Lazovick presented the report’s latest research, highlighting digital trends between 1998 and 2023.

The findings reflect significant changes in media consumption over the past 25 years. In 1998, 31% of Americans had internet access, compared to 95% in 2023. Today, 91% of Americans carry a computer in their pocket in the form of a smartphone. In 1998, only 6% of Americans had ever listened to online audio, compared to 70% in 2023 who listen to online audio every week.

The report also highlights more recent changes in technology use. Ownership and usage of digital and smart devices continue to increase, with 58% of those aged 12 and above owning wireless headphones (up from 50% in 2021), 70% owning a smart TV (up from 61% in 2021), and 36% owning a smart speaker (up from 33% in 2021).

Podcast listening is also on the rise, with 42% of Americans aged 12 and above having listened to a podcast in the last month, an all-time high and up from 38% in 2022. The majority of Americans aged 12-54 (53%) have listened to a podcast in the last month. Weekly podcast listeners are consuming more podcasts, with an average of nine episodes listened to in the last week, up from eight in 2022. However, podcast listening among those aged 55+ remains stagnant.

The report also indicates that social media usage has remained flat, with 82% of those aged 12 and above using social media. Among those aged 12-34 who use social media, Instagram is most commonly used by 31%, followed by TikTok at 22%, with Facebook in third place as the most-used platform at 20%.

Jeanine Wright, Wondery COO and General Manager, emphasized the importance of credible data to support the growth of the audio space for creators and advertisers. She and other industry experts are proud to support the Infinite Dial survey and to provide valuable information to audio and social media professionals to help them plan their strategies for the coming year.

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