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Digital audio takes up an increasing share of US digital media time

Digital audio has been taking up more than an hour per day of US adults’ time since 2016, and 2022 will be another year of solid growth. They will consume an additional 3 minutes per day of digital audio this year, to reach 1:40. Among active digital audio listeners, the daily figure will be a robust 2:17.

Digital audio will account for 12.7% of overall media time among US adults. Within digital media time, audio’s share will be 20.3%—a high figure compared with many alternative digital options. Adults will spend more time each day listening to digital audio (1:40) than they will watching sub OTT services (1:27), using social networks (1:15), using tablets (1:09), or watching videos on their smartphones (0:40). Listening to digital audio is among the most popular digital activities that we track, not least because it is so easy to consume while multitasking.

Listening to digital audio is also more popular than listening to the radio, although radio retains a significant share of audio time spent. This year, nearly 55% of total audio time will be spent on digital platforms (1:40), while the remaining 45% (1:23) will be spent with traditional radio. Digital first exceeded radio in 2020 and has only grown its share since. This trend will continue.

Radio will still account for 10.5% of all media time among US adults in 2022—not a small figure.

Within digital audio, podcast listening remains the standout subcategory in terms of growth. Digital audio includes music, digital radio, audiobooks, seminars, and even a new format called “audio-mentaries,” but podcasts continue to be the hottest item. US adult time spent with podcasts will expand by 15.0% this year, reaching just over 23 minutes per day. That amounts to 23.1% of total digital audio time. Five years ago, podcasts only accounted for 9.1% of digital audio time.

Among podcast listeners, the figures are much higher. Only 37.4% of the US population will be podcast listeners this year, but within this cohort, time spent with podcasts will reach nearly 53 minutes per day.