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Morning commute habits may be slowly getting back to normal, but Edison Research finds Americans 13 and older are now typically beginning to audio 75 minutes later each day than before the coronavirus pandemic. “This data shows that if Americans continue current work patterns, audio strategies may need to be adjusted,” said Edison Research Director Laura Ivey. 

The Share of Ear study, which requires respondents to keep a detailed daily diary of audio usage, shows that pre-COVID-19, the point in the day when 50% of those in the U.S. 13 and older recorded their first entry of their audio day was around 7:15am. But during the second quarter, it was not until 8:30am that half of respondents had recorded any audio usage.

The second-quarter data is based on interviews conducted in mid-May 2020, said Edison.

“This finding challenges our thinking about how those in the U.S. listen to audio during traditional drive times,” said Ivey. “With many people staying at home or working from home during second quarter, they did not engage with audio as early as they did pre-COVID.”

Podtrac earlier released data showing podcast downloads during peak weekday morning commute times were down when the lockdowns took effect. Yet among Podtrac-measured shows, weekends became strong listening times, with download numbers for Saturdays and Sundays up by double-digits.