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INDUSTRY DATA

 

 

2012 Consumer Survey

Overview:

  • Audiobook buyers love the convenience of listening, especially as perfect entertainment for a long car trip
  • More than two-thirds of recent audiobook buyers described audiobooks as relaxing and a good way to multi-task.
  • Listeners also stated that an audio performance makes some books more interesting than they would be in print.
  • Those who prefer download and streaming formats are younger, but more affluent listeners still listen mostly on CD.
  • The greatest potential for growth exists in digital formats.

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2012 Sales Survey (reflecting 2011 data)

Overview:

  • Unit sales were up 16%
  • CD units have held steady at about 8 million, representing approximately 33% of the market
  • CD revenue is down 7% but still represents approximately 53% of the market
  • Download units are up 29% and represent approximately 61% of the market
  • Download revenue is up 24%, representing approximately 41% of the market
  • Total number of titles published is up 28% (from 5,584 to 7,165)
  • Number of formats per title published has shrunk from 4.5 in 2010 to 3.4 in 2011

Please note: Rates of change are calculated based upon the collective data of publishers who responded both in 2011 and 2012.

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2011 Sales Survey (reflecting 2010 data)

Overview:

  • Unit sales were up nearly 10% in the past year, showing continued consumer interest in audiobooks.
    • Based on the companies who reported (representing 61% of industry), total net sales (after returns) are up by 2 million units and $2 million.
  • The total number of audiobooks being published doubled in the past three years, from 3,073 in 2007 to 6,200 in 2010.
  • Audiobook downloads continued on a growth trend representing 36% of dollar volume (up from 29% in 2009) and 52% of unit sales (up from 48% in 2009)
    • In the past 5 years, downloading has grown 300% by dollar volume (from 9% in 2005) and 150% in terms of units (from 21% in 2005).
  • The CD format still represents the largest single source of dollars but showed slight declines overall in 2010 – 58% of revenue (down from 65%) and 43% of unit sales (down from 46%).
  • Unabridged editions (89% of the market by dollars; 85% of the market by units) continue to lead in sales.

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2010 Consumer Survey

Overview:

  • Demographics
    • More than one-third of adult respondents (37%) have listened to an audiobook
    • Audiobook listeners are better educated than non-listeners: 21% have completed post-graduate work or hold a doctorate degree, twice as many as non-listeners
    • People who listen to books also have higher incomes, with an estimated median income of $56,000 (compared to non-listener median income of $43,000)
    • The median age of audiobook listeners is 48, slightly younger than non-listeners, whose median age is 51
    • Almost one-quarter (23%) of all audiobook listeners are between 18 and 24 years old and are at least twice as likely as those in other age brackets to have made their last purchase at an online retailer or online digital store
  • Audiobook Listeners are Avid Readers
    • In the past year, 90% of listeners read at least one book
    • Frequent listeners of audiobooks (those who listened to four or more audiobooks in the past year) read a median of 15 books in the past year, compared to six books read by people who don't listen to audiobooks
    • 58% agree that an audio performance makes some books more interesting than they would be in print
  • Audiobooks Get Kids into Books
    • Nearly one-half of audiobook listeners (45%) with children under age 18 report that their children listen to audiobooks as well
    • 49% of listeners feel audiobooks increase their children's love of reading, while 59% said it exposes them to books they might not otherwise read
    • Teachers in focus groups agreed that audiobook listening can encourage reading and reach students who might not otherwise be exposed to the material
  • Audiobooks Are Popular in Many Settings
    • Audiobook fans are most likely to listen to audiobooks while commuting in the car (52%) but also in the car and not commuting, on mass transit, and while traveling to a vacation destination
    • Respondents are most likely to have started listening to audiobooks as entertainment for a long drive or trip (51%)
    • 66% of audiobook listeners said that being able to play a book in their car is the reason they choose one format over another
    • 64% of listeners agree that audiobooks are a good way to multi-task
    • 43% of audiobook fans reported using them while relaxing at home
  • Personal Recommendations Dominate
    • Listeners are most likely to turn to recommendations from a friend (27%) to select an audiobook
    • Librarians, coworkers, and teachers are also influential in helping people to choose a particular audio production

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2010 Sales Survey (reflecting 2009 data)

Overview:

  • Unit sales increased from 2008 to 2009, showing that the popularity of audiobooks continues to grow
  • While hard goods represent 71% of audio revenue, they make up 51% of units sold
  • CDs represent 65% of audio revenue, and 46% of units sold
  • Digital downloads represent 29% of audio revenue, and 49% of units sold
  • The survey revealed an expected boost in fiction sales and a slight drop in non-fiction sales, a typical occurrence for a non-presidential election year
  • Unabridged audiobooks geared toward adults continue to lead in sales
  • CD sales dropped to 65% of sales in 2009 from 72% in 2008
  • Digital downloads continued to increase, up from 21% of dollar volume in 2008 to 29% in 2009
  • Units in CD and digital format are selling at a near even pace, with downloadable formats representing 49% of overall units and CDs representing 46%
  • Pre-loaded devices increased 2% from 2008 to 2009

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2009 Sales Survey (reflecting 2008 data)

AUDIO INDUSTRY HOLDS GROUND IN 2008
APA Survey Reports Sales Figures from More Publishers than Any Other Industry Report

PRINCETON JUNCTION, NJ – June 23, 2009 – The Audio Publishers Association (APA) released the results of the 2009 APA Sales Survey, conducted to evaluate trends and measure the growth of the audiobook industry. The independent research firm, LewisClarkBoone Market Intelligence, surveyed audiobook publishers and analyzed consumer sales data from 2008, comparing current statistics against the previous year’s findings. The results show the audio industry experienced only a slight drop in sales in 2008, comparable to those of the trade book industry.

For the first time, the APA is releasing the measure of publishers’ revenues, a metric that other publishing industry trade associations use. Revenue reported by 30 member companies is $331 million, down only 6.7% from last year. The APA estimates that the total size of the audiobook industry, based on the dollars spent by consumers and libraries, is close to $1 billion.

Overview:

  • CD sales represent 72% of the audio market.
  • Downloads grew to 21% of the market.
  • The sales of preloaded devices increased significantly, now making up 3% of the total market.
  • Cassette sales stayed the same since 2007, accounting for 3% of sales in 2008.
  • Unabridged audiobooks made up 68% of the units and 85% of the 2008 audiobook market.

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2008 Sales and Consumer Survey

MORE AMERICANS ARE ALL EARS TO AUDIOBOOKS
28 Percent of Americans Have Listened to audiobooks in the Past Year; Sales Surpass One Billion Dollars

PRINCETON JUNCTION, NJ – September 15, 2008 – The Audio Publishers Association (APA) released the results of the 2008 APA Consumer Survey and the 2008 APA Sales Survey which were conducted to measure the growth of the audiobook industry as well as gain an accurate picture of audiobook listeners’ behaviors. Independent research firm LewisClarkBoone Market Intelligence surveyed a sample of American consumers, as well as audiobook publishers, who reported sales data from 2007.

This year’s Consumer Survey showed that 28 percent of adult respondents have listened to an audiobook in the last year, showing a growth of three percent from the survey results in 2006, and a growing comfort with the audio medium among a broadening base of users. 

This year’s Sales Survey showed a 12 percent increase over 2006, with audiobook sales now estimated at $1,033,760,000 billion. Thanks in part to blockbuster audiobook releases in 2007, the growth rate doubled since the previous findings which showed a 6 percent increase from 2005.

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2007 Sales Survey (reflecting 2006 data)

AMERICANS ARE TUNING IN TO AUDIO:
AUDIOBOOK SALES ON THE RISE NATIONALLY
According to New Survey, Size of Audiobook Market Now Estimated at $923 Million

The Audio Publishers Association (APA) released the results of the 2007 APA Sales Survey, conducted to gather data and measure the growth of the audiobook industry. Independent research firm Lewis & Clark Research surveyed audiobook publishers during the summer of 2007, analyzing reported consumer sales data from 2006 and comparing current statistics against the previous year’s findings. This year’s survey showed a 6 percent increase over 2005 with audiobook sales now estimated at $923 million.

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2006 Consumer Survey

AUDIO PUBLISHERS ASSOCIATION RELEASES MAJOR CONSUMER SURVEY AND ANNOUNCES INCREASE IN AUDIOBOOK USAGE

Nearly 25% of US Population is Listening to Audiobooks

McLean, Va (September 12, 2006) —The Audio Publishers Association (APA) today released a consumer study, Audiobook Market Survey: Customer Profile, Usage Patterns, and Experiences, that profiles audiobook customers to help better understand their behavior. The new data indicates that nearly one in four Americans (24.6%) have listened to an audiobook in the past year. The market is estimated at $871 million (see 2005 sales survey), a 4.7 increase from the previous year. In a telling sign of the adoption of new technology and industry’s ability to reach a younger audience, downloads and other new media are up markedly since the last survey in 2001.

The Audiobook Market Survey defines the typical audiobook listener in the United States. Compelling demographic data show younger listeners, split evenly between male and female, who live in slightly larger households (many with children) and command a higher income than has been reported in previous surveys. Audiobook listeners also have more education and buy and read more printed books than non-listeners, thus proving that audiobook listeners are well-read and ardent fans of both the spoken and the written word.

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NOTE: The full report is available to members for free; log into My APA Portal for details. Non members may contact APA Headquarters to purchase the full report ($1,000 USD).

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