Whether people are listening to music or broadcasts, the audio market today is substantial and the generation that is maintaining the status quo in listening are the millennials. With over 80 million people now identifying as a millennial, it comes as no surprise that the demographic has become the biggest audio generation in the United States.

According to a 2019 Ipsos study conducted for iHeartRadio, the consumption of audio in the U.S by this generation is explosive, with millennials tuning in at more times and in more places than any other generation out there.

Conducted in March of 2019, the Ipsos study surveyed a nationally representative sample of 6,016 consumers aged 13–64 who listen to one or more audio platforms at least once a week. According to the data, Millennials and Gen Z listen the most and spend 18 hours each week and 2.6 hours or more each day listening to audio. This includes broadcast radio, streaming music services, podcasts, and other audio outlets.

“These numbers, along with social media’s continued popularity, reflect consumers’ need for live, human connections,” the study had stated.

“Audio is hot right now and a must for marketers looking to reach increasingly elusive and fractured audiences,” remarked Bob Pittman, iHeartRadio’s CEO and chairman. “If you look at the data, it’s undeniable that consumers are listening more and watching less and this study outlines when, where and why. Contrary to some misperceptions, it shows we are living in an audio-first world by drilling down a more granular overview of audio listenership and showing what a day-in-the-life of the average listener is like when it comes to media consumption.”

Nielsen’s most recent data has additionally found that over 72 million millennials listen to AM/FM radio each week. The younger audience has become a powerful market and the Ipsos and Nielsen data is proving that you do not have to turn to social media like Instagram alone to advertise to them. Radio has become saturated with a valuable young audience at a low cost to market to.

The Ipsos study has also revealed that audio’s fastest growing channel is podcasting. Podcasts now represent almost 10% of audio listening among the millennial generation. These audio programs have become engaging and intimate listening experiences for many and are now an important new channel to reach young consumers.

Podcast listening is up 48% with people aged 12–24 says a 2019 Infinite Dial study from Edison Research and Triton Digital. The study also discovered that 51 percent of American consumers among all generations have reported listening to a podcast at some point in their lives. This is compared to only 22 percent in 2009.

Radio has become a comfort food for Americans during the COVID-19 pandemic, with Statista reporting this year that 18 percent of heavy radio listeners in the United States will listen to more radio because of the coronavirus outbreak.

Despite the uncertainty with COVID-19, audio is booming. This may be because more people are choosing to stay inside and are feeling a need to stay connected on some level with the outside world.

In their Q1 2020 financial report, media services provider Spotify stated, “Despite the global uncertainty around COVID-19 in Q1, our business met or exceeded our forecast for all major metrics.”

“Q1 was a strong quarter for Spotify,” said CEO Daniel Ek on the earnings call. “In terms of user behaviors, what we are seeing is that podcast users are more engaged overall. They do listen to more music as well.”

“Listening on gaming consoles is exploding”, Ek further stated. Nielsen has found that two in three millennials in the U.S. play video games every month which may explain why more people are tuning in to radio on their gaming consoles.

While millennials account for a sizeable portion of today’s listeners, radio is a powerful medium that is allowing all generations to connect with others. “Radio has long been a trusted companion for people of all ages, so it’s no surprise that it continues to be the premier destination when people want to connect with others and their community,” said Gayle Troberman, CMO of iHeartMedia. “The only difference now versus decades ago is that today people can enjoy that connection anywhere they are across a variety of platforms.”

Radio is reaching hundreds of millions of listeners each week, and with millennials tuning in more than any other generation, it is proving to be a guaranteed marketing tactic for advertisers.

Millennials have passed Baby Boomers as the nation’s largest single consumer market. With roughly $1.6 trillion in spending power as reported by CEB Iconoculture Consumer Insights, this generation has become a critical target for advertisers and radio is providing an easy way to get connected with them.


Marketing to Millennials: Understanding the Largest Generation in the United States

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