Work-From-Home Leads to Enormous Shift in US Audio Consumption

As a significant share of American workers shifted to at-home employment in 2020, naturally their audio consumption patterns were deeply affected as well. Data from Edison Research’s Share of Ear survey allows its clients to quantify those shifts and also predict how things might shift again if and when people go back to commuting to offices and other work locations.

In addition to previous data releases that showed a massive shift in the total share of all audio consumed at home, the latest Share of Ear release shows a clear difference in listening between those working primarily at home vs. those not working from home.

In addition to previous data releases that showed a massive shift in the total share of all audio consumed at home, the latest Share of Ear release shows a clear difference in listening between those working primarily at home vs. those not working from home.

Among employed persons who work from home, nearly three-quarters of their total audio consumption (72%) happens at home. Meanwhile, among those who work away from their homes, only 29% of their listening happens at home.

Share of Ear subscribers recently received an extensive report detailing all the ways audio has changed in the last year under so many COVID-related disruptions. Included are details on the work-from-home cohort, as well as many insights into how the pandemic changed audio over the last year.

Share of Ear has tracked the growth of audio consumption since 2014 and has always tracked listening location as part of that dataset. The study has now added a measure of those U.S. adults who are employed and work primarily from home, and those who are employed and do not work primarily from home, leading to new insights.

“We knew from Share of Ear data in 2020 that a tremendous amount of listening had shifted to home as a result of quarantine restrictions. While almost everyone was spending at least some increased time at home during the pandemic, it is those who shifted their work to their homes who drove the biggest changes,” said Director of Research Laura Ivey. “We also saw audio consumption rise on computers and other devices such as internet-connected televisions, so we can see that at-home workers are using various audio devices at home.”

As quarantine restrictions continue to evolve and the American workforce continues to adapt to workplace changes, Share of Ear will continue to track these findings.

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