The Audio Publishers Association posted a few of the result from their annual consumer survey today.
The APA is estimating that audiobook sales totaled more than $2.1 billion in the US in 2016, up 18.2% from 2015. This is the third consecutive year that audiobook sales have expanded by nearly 20%, and unit volume was also up 33.9%.
According to the press release, 24% of Americans (more than 67 million people) completed at least one audiobook in 2016, a 22% increase over the 2015 survey.
High point from the press release:
Who listens to audiobooks?
- Nearly half (48%) of frequent audiobook listeners are under 35.
- Audiobook listeners are often also podcast listeners. Respondents who consumed both podcasts and audiobooks listened to twice as many audiobooks in the past 12 months as non-podcast consumers.
- Avid readers are also listening. Audiobook listeners read or listened to an average of 15 books in the last year, and 77% of frequent listeners agreed or strongly agreed that “audiobooks help you finish more books.”
How and where are they listening?
- Far more listeners are saying they use their smartphone most often to listen to audiobooks than ever before – 29% in 2017 vs. 22% in 2015.
- A majority of audiobook listening is done at home (57%), with the car being the second most frequently-cited location (32%).
- 68% of frequent listeners do housework while listening to audiobooks. Other multitasking activities among frequent listeners include baking (65%), exercise (56%) and crafting (36%).
- The 2017 survey asked about voice-enabled wireless speakers (such as Amazon Echo or Google Home) for the first time, with 19% of all listeners reporting using them to listen to an audiobook in the last year. Among frequent listeners, that rises to 30%.
Additional Key Findings
- Libraries remain major access channels and important drivers of audiobook discovery. 27% of people said borrowing from a library/library website was very important for discovering new audiobooks.
- Of the more than 50,000 titles produced on audio in 2016, the most popular genres were Mysteries/Thrillers/Suspense, Science Fiction/Fantasy and Romance.
- The top three reasons why people enjoy listening to audiobooks are: 1) They can do other things while listening; 2) Audiobooks are portable and people can listen wherever they are; and 3) They enjoy being read to.
image by ActuaLitté