NEW YORK: The majority of US consumers who own smart speakers in the US are listening to more audio since they acquired the device, and women are more likely to have bought one than men, new research reveals.

The Smart Audio Report, from NPR and Edison research, was based on a national online survey of 909 Americans ages 18+ who indicated that they owned at least one smart speaker; women (54%) were slight more likely to own a smart speaker than men (46%).

The study classified owners as either ‘first adopter’ (the 26% of respondents owning a smart speaker for more than 12 months) or ‘early mainstream’ (the 74% owning a smart speaker for less than 12 months), and found that in both cases people were listening to more audio – 63% of first adopters and 70% of early mainstreamers.

And for first adopters, smart speakers have become the number one way they listen to audio, the report said.

“This has profound ramifications for anyone in media and advertising, said Tom Webster, Senior VP of Edison Research. “For millions of Americans, smart speakers are truly the new radio.”

There are also interesting knock-on effects from owning a smart speaker: 61% of early mainstreamers had encouraged their friends to get one, while 56% of the same group reported they were making more use of the voice-operated assistant on their smartphone.

And a small but significant proportion of both groups had reduced their use of other technology, including some who had bought a smart speaker with the express intention of reducing screen time.

“Smart speaker owners are turning off their TVs and closing down their laptops to spend more time listening to news, music, podcasts and books – fueling the demand for more audio content,” noted NPR CMO Meg Goldthwaite.

The best place for brands to tap into this development may be in creating skills or features for smart speaker owners. Just 19% said they disliked this idea, a far smaller proportion than the third who objected to host-read ads on podcasts, or the 43% who hated recorded ads during podcasts.

Sourced from NPR, Edison Research; additional content by WARC staff