NPD Group: Music Listening Increases On Smartphones & Tablets
February 20, 2013

The NPD Group has released a new study, looking at music listening on mobile devices such as tablets and smartphones. According to NPD's Audio Consumption Study, 40 percent of tablet owners report they use it to listen to music, while 56 percent of smartphone users say they use it for music listening. Among those using their smartphones for music listening, 39 percent said they listen to music at least once a day and half (54 percent) report they are using the device more for music compared with a year ago.

As for smartphones, 65 percent of the music users reported using Internet radio services, such as Pandora, while 30 percent are using on-demand services, such as Spotify or Rhapsody. However, many (60 percent) bring their own music to the device. Tablet owners have a similar passion for using Internet radio, and half (49 percent) port their own music files to the device. 

"With both local music storage and the ability to connect to any number of online music services, tablets and smartphones are actually contributing to a net increase in their owner’s use of internet radio and personal music collections," said Ben Arnold, director of industry analysis at NPD. "As a result, we are seeing sales growth in products that compliment playback on mobile devices, particularly those that feature wireless local streaming."

For example, wireless streaming speaker sales more than tripled in 2012, and wireless headphones grew by 34 percent. Also, one in four (28 percent) soundbars sold in 2012 were Bluetooth-enabled, up from six percent in 2011, according to Retail Tracking Service data from NPD.

"Products that enhance listening like streaming speakers and soundbars with Bluetooth and even premium headphones have experienced tremendous growth over the past year is evidence that consumers aren’t only satisfied with music on-the-go- they increasingly want to use these devices for a better in-home music experience," said Arnold.

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Mark Adams
San Francisco

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