Audiobook Unit Sales Soar 33% in 2016
To $2.1 Billion; Smartphones Power Up
June 7, 2017
(VOXtra) - The fast-moving audiobook train has become a rocket.
Audiobook unit sales soared 33% in 2016 over the previous year, and more than 67 million Americans listened to at least one audiobook last year, according to the findings of two surveys conducted for the Audio Publishers Association (APA), and announced today.
Those unit sales pushed the industry's revenue 18.2% to more than $2.1 billion, according to the APA's annual member sales survey, conducted by Management Practice Inc. It's the third consecutive year that audiobook sales have expanded by nearly 20%.
And a separate consumer survey found that more than 67 million Americans listened to at least one audiobook last year.
Since nearly half of that survey's "frequent audiobook listener" respondents are under 35 years of age, that indicates plenty of recording hours ahead for audiobook narrators.
Also from the consumer survey: smartphones are increasingly powering up to enjoy audiobooks.
The industry survey reports that in 2016, unit sales of audiobooks jumped to 89,558,322 from 67,4341,630 in 2015 - and the 2016 figure was more than double the number of units sold in 2012.
Also, downloads accounted for 87.4% of audiobook sales in 2016, continuing the growing popularity of downloads in both units and sales dollars. Meanwhile, the CD format experienced a comparably equal decline in unit sales and sales dollars.
CONSUMER SURVEY HIGHLIGHTS
The industry association also shares the following highlights from its consumer study, which was conducted by Edison Research to determine audiobook consumption patterns, purchasing behavior, content preference and more.
Who listens to audiobooks?
ADDITIONAL KEY FINDINGS
"The audiobook market continues to grow, with more people than ever before indicating that they have listened to the medium in the past year," notes Tom Webster, Vice President of Strategy for Edison Research. "That growth, combined with the growth of the podcast market and the strong relationship between the two, are all part of a renaissance for spoken word programming."
Anthony Goff, VP and Research Committee Chair for the APA, and SVP, Publisher at Hachette Audio, adds that 2016 was "another banner year for audiobooks."
"It has been exhilarating for everyone involved in audio to see such healthy growth maintained, year in and year out," Goff says. "Learning more about audiobook listeners by digging deeper into the metrics of consumer behavior is one of the key ways we can help that growth continue."
For more about the APA and its programs - including an annual conference (APAC), the Audie Awards® competition and other member services, visit www.audiopub.org.
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