Weekly Insights · March 27, 2024

Share of Time Spent Listening to Radio Sources In-Car

By Edison Research

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In 2023, Share of Ear was able to pinpoint the moment when daily time spent with on-demand audio passed time spent with linear audio overall in the U.S. In fact – on demand had passed linear in every location years earlier – with the exception of one popular listening location: the car. The car has proven to be a different animal when it comes to audio consumption.

Share of Ear also collects data on the model year car of the primary vehicle of listeners, which has revealed something fascinating about in-car linear listening. 
We discussed in a report last year that the newer the car, the more likely the listener to consume SiriusXM satellite radio. The graph below shows that among those with 2020 or newer model year cars, 22% of their daily in-car listening time is spent with SiriusXM, compared with only 4% of daily in-car time spent with SiriusXM by those with cars from model years 2009 and older. Newer cars have newer hardware, and people who buy newer cars can afford subscription services. But that’s not the beauty of this graph. 

For ALL model year cars, the time spent with “radio” is essentially the same – 74-75% of the total daily in-car audio time. Add the percentage of time spent with AM/FM radio to the time spent with satellite radio in-car, and it’s almost identical regardless of the age of the vehicle.  

Which means that the same amount of time is spent with linear audio options in the newest of cars as the oldest of cars, just through different listening mechanisms.  
AM/FM radio dominates time spent with audio in older vehicles, and still accounts for over half of all time spent with audio (52%) in-car, but you can easily see SXM’s strength in newer cars.  
On-demand listening is growing in the in-car environment, albeit slowly. For most people at most times, driving and ‘radio’ seem to just go together. 

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