Canadians Dialing up Audio Everywhere

Interest is building quickly over IAB Canada’s next amazing 2-day Audio Everywhere virtual conference, which is fast approaching on October 27 & 28, 1-3pm EST. IAB Canada first became excited about planning this event back in June, when we hosted Edison Research and Triton Digital’s presentation of their newest “The Infinite Dial, Canada 2020” Report, about all aspects of audio usage and behaviour in Canada, as part of our Community Uninterrupted webinar series.

Conducted in the first quarter of 2020, just before the Covid-19 quarantines began, this is their third annual study of digital media behavior in Canada based on adults 18+.

Here are some of the most notable results:

Canada now matches or exceeds US digital audio consumption levels, driven by the ubiquitous penetration of smartphones and mobile broadband access, now 86% in Canada versus the U.S. (84%). When unlimited data plans were introduced in Canada in mid-2019 by the big three carriers, this had a significant impact on the growth of online data consumption, which Edison/Triton advise is driving boosts in digital audio in Canada.

The growth of the smart speaker category resulted in Canada exceeding the U.S. in smart speaker ownership, 26% vs 24% (one in four Canadians). 42% of Canadian smart speaker owners have two or more devices in the home, contributing significantly to the spread of digital audio listening. Among the device brands, Google Home has the awareness and ownership lead in Canada, because Amazon was later-to-market with Alexa here: 14% of Canadians own a Google Home smart speaker compared to 11% owning an Alexa device. Conversely, Amazon Alexa ownership leads Google in the US, 19% vs 11%.

Online AM/FM radio listening in Canada used to be about two years behind the U.S., because of the lack of attractive mobile data plans, but for 2020, more Canadians tune to AM/FM radio online on a monthly basis than the US (21% /19%), while on a weekly basis the two countries are at par (14% of Canadians 18+).

The bigger story is overall Online Audio listening, including digital pureplays like Spotify, Amazon Music, Stingray and Google Play. Unlike previous years, Canada has now surpassed the US, at 70% vs 67% of the population on a monthly basis. This also holds true for weekly online audio listening at 60% vs 58% respectively, demonstrating a high conversion rate from trial (monthly) to regular (weekly) online audio usage.

Notably, almost one-third of digital online audio time spent in Canada is “new time spent not taken from other sources” of audio, because of the portability of mobile, multiple room placement of smart speakers and in-car access.

Podcasting consumption in Canada now equals that of the U.S. An identical percentage of Canadians/Americans listen to podcasts monthly (37%) and weekly (23-24%). The profile of podcast listeners is younger in Canada than the U.S. Weekly podcast tuning by Canadians 18+ is to an average of six podcasts versus seven in the U.S. At home is the predominant location of listening (81%) followed by in car/truck (40%) and while on foot (34%). The dominant source of podcasts in Canada is CBC/Radio-Canada followed by NPR. Eighty percent of Canadian podcast consumers listen to most or all of the podcast which is particularly important to the advertiser community.

With Canadian listening on the rise and the opportunities for brands evolving each day, the timing of the IAB Canada Audio Everywhere event could not be better. Tune into a Canadian deep dive on Audio from anywhere next week!