Digital listening continues to grow, but DAB radios are not following the same trend. With the rise of smart speakers, do we still need a separate radio set?
The UK radio industry reached a milestone in 2018 after data from radio research body RAJAR showed that digital radio listening surpassed AM and FM listening for the first time.
Despite the growth we’ve seen in digital listening, the market for dedicated DAB radios has not followed the same trend, showing signs of stagnation and, more recently, even decline.
With so few DAB radio launches, we tested just four new sets in 2019 – fewer than in any year since we began testing them in 2004. It’s not doom and gloom for radio stations, though.
There are many different ways of accessing digital radio, including through your TV, listening online via an app on your smartphone or tablet, and, more recently, through voice activated smart speakers.
UK popularity of the latter has surged since the Amazon Echo with its Alexa voice assistant first went on sale in 2016. These versatile devices are changing how people consume audio services at home.
The rise of smart speakers
As they continue to become more commonplace, could smart speakers begin to challenge more traditional DAB radios for pride of place in the kitchen or living area?
But smart speakers definitely aren’t for everyone, and for some they could never replace the familiarity and convenience of a dedicated DAB radio.
Have you tried switching your radio listening to a smart speaker? If so, was it an improvement and were there any challenges to overcome? Or, did you prefer the experience of having a dedicated DAB radio?
Let me know in the comments.