APA Report: Audiobook Market Remains Strong
Publishers' audiobook revenue grew 12% in 2020 to $1.3 billion, the ninth straight year of double-digit growth, according to the Audio Publishers Association's Sales Survey, conducted by InterQ. The APA's Consumer Survey of American audiobook listeners ages 18 and up, conducted by Edison Research, found that although listening habits changed in the last year, audiobook use remained strong and stable despite the pandemic.
The APA noted that the most significant change in listener behavior was the shift in listening location from car to home as American commuter patterns changed dramatically. The survey found that 55% of listeners said they listened most often at home, compared to 43% the previous year; and 30% cited the car as their primary listening location in 2020, compared to 41% the previous year.
This year's survey also showed that 67% of audiobook consumers said one of the reasons they enjoy listening to audiobooks is to reduce screen time. In addition, the percentage of parents of children ages 17 and younger who said their children listened to audiobooks last year was 49%, up from 35% previously.
Other notable findings from the APA surveys include:
- The percentage of Americans 18+ who have ever listened to an audiobook is now 46%, up from 44% in 2020.
- Membership in audiobook services increased, with 38% of listeners indicating they subscribe to at least one such service.
- 56% of audiobook listeners are under the age of 45; this is up from 52% in 2020.
- 70% of consumers agree audiobooks are a good choice for relaxing.
Key corresponding data from Edison Research's Share of Ear report, which tracks daily listening habits for Americans 13-plus:
- The overall share of time spent listening to audio (Share of Ear) for audiobooks has grown 60% since 2017.
- Daily audiobook listeners spend more time listening to books than any other form of audio (radio, podcasts, etc.).
- Daily reach of audiobook consumption has grown 71% since 2017.
- Daily audiobook listeners spend nearly 2 hours more per day listening to audio than the general population (5:35 vs 3:46).
More than 71,000 audiobooks were published in 2020, a 39% jump over 2019, the APA reported.