In the tech world, the pace of change is as quick as a keystroke. Just look at the changes over the past six years. The smartphone has transitioned from being a “nice-to-have” to a “can’t-live-without it” device. Digital media is now mainstream and smart devices are steadily creeping into our homes. If you’re an 18-to-24 year-old Generation Z or younger Millennial consumer now, this evolution happened during your teenage years. So how has adulthood changed the way this group listens to the radio—the medium with the biggest national reach?
Back in spring of 2011, consumers 12-17 spent an average of 9 hours and 15 minutes with radio each week—not internet radio; not satellite radio; just good old AM/FM radio. Fast forward six years later, and these same consumers (now 18-to-24-year olds) spend an average of 10 hours and 15 minutes with radio each week. In other words, when teens grow up, they spend more time listening to the radio.
How can this be?
Employment is a major factor to consider among these age groups because a large amount of total radio listening comes from employed Americans who tune in when they’re away from home. Comparing the data from 2011, where only 5% of radio listeners aged 12-17 were employed (either full or part-time), it’s clear why radio usage increased as they’ve aged: now, 64% of these 18-to-24 year-old listeners are employed. Whether they’re in their cars more commuting to and from work or using radio as a companion throughout the workday, employed people have a greater opportunity to spend time with their favorite radio station.
And according to our first-quarter 2017 Nielsen Total Audience Report, radio reaches 88% of Generation Z and 93% of Millennials each week. What’s more, the amount of time spent listening to radio each day increases as you compare generations from younger to older. Millennials spend about 30 more minutes each day listening to radio than Generation Z.
When we look at how Generation Z and younger Millennials interact with media, it’s easy to assume that these habits don’t include traditional mediums alongside the new ones. That’s where data can help separate the reality from the speculation.