Newer devices and accessories on the rise, but car stereos most popular for consuming music
TORONTO, March 27, 2014 – Though technological advancements in the audio sector are ever more revolutionary, the car stereo has persisted as the device Canadians use most commonly to listen to music (70 per cent). Surprisingly, the largest shift towards increased car stereo usage is amongst those under the age of 35, however younger Canadians are also behind the growing adoption of music consumption through newer technology.
The data derives from Audio Consumption, a recent study from leading global information company The NPD Group, which also reveals that when not behind the wheel, Canadians are enjoying music most frequently on their personal computers (57 per cent) and via television (40 per cent). Interestingly, digital music players and smartphones – both popular and portable – fall short of the top three music consumption devices at 35 per cent and 33 per cent respectively.
“Portable device manufacturers have been working to capitalize on the increased amount of time Canadians spend in their cars commuting, which is why the integration of music players and smartphones in vehicles has become a more standard feature,” said Mark Haar, director of Consumer Electronics at The NPD Group. “Though consumers have not been quick to adapt this technology and are generally sticking to more conventional listening methods, the younger demographic is still a great contributor to the increased popularity of newer technology.”
When looking specifically at smartphones, 37 per cent of Canadians who indicated they use theirs to listen to music do so on a daily basis, with overall usage up 12 percentage points compared to last year. The rise in usage is being most heavily driven by the 13-17 age bracket, which has shown an isolated increase of 46 percentage points. Further, 13-34 year olds are driving the free on-demand listening category, which is experiencing the largest increase in usage compared to last year. Overall, this category has increased 11 percentage points in the past 12 months, but over 20 percentage points within this younger age group.
With a great number of music sources either part of traditional listening methods or integrated into multi-purpose devices, the audio sector often relies on the sale of accessories to further boost its revenue stream. The NPD Group’s study shows that though wireless accessories, such as headphones and speakers, have a comparatively low ownership in Canada versus the U.S., they are experiencing the highest increase in usage year over year with a shift of over 30 percentage points since 2013. Also, soundbars claim the highest daily user frequency of audio accessories at home, as 40 per cent of owners report that they use them daily.
“The trends we’ve seen in the audio sector towards traditional listening – music enjoyed in cars, heard on-demand via personal computers and smartphones, and consumed through video channels on TV – is really just an indication that an opportunity exists for retailers and manufacturers to further improve these preferences,” continued Haar. “Consumers are very open to augmenting the ways in which they already listen to music, and are willing to spend the money to do so if the investment provides what they perceive as a worthwhile experience and return.”
The study also revealed that older, more affluent consumers (ages 35+) are willing to spend more on most audio accessories in comparison to their younger counterparts and, across the board, consumers prefer going wireless. Regarding speakers in particular, Canadians will spend an average of 11 per cent more on wireless models, versus those that are wired, as a means of improving their music experience.
An Online survey was fielded January 10-22, 2014 to a Canadian representative sample of panelists ages 13+ from The NPD Group’s Online Panel. Panel members were asked to visit The NPD Group’s Online Research Survey Site in order to complete and submit the survey. A total of 2,653 panelists completed the survey and were balanced to represent Canadian adult demographics.