NPD: Half of smartphone owners use their device for music listening

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Roughly half of all U.S. consumers who own smartphones and tablets use those devices to listen to music, according to a new survey conducted by researcher NPD Group.

Fifty-six percent of all smartphone owners access music through their device, NPD reports. Among them, 39 percent of respondents access music on their phone at least once per day and 54 percent said they are using the device for music playback more than they did a year ago. Sixty-five percent of smartphone owners who listen to music access Internet radio services like Pandora, and 30 percent are using on-demand services like Spotify or Rhapsody. In addition, 60 percent have ported over their own digital music files.

Forty percent of tablet owners report using it for music listening. NPD notes they exhibit a comparable enthusiasm for Internet radio services--in addition, 49 percent port their own music files.

"With both local music storage and the ability to connect to any number of online music services, tablets and smartphones are actually contributing to a net increase in their owner's use of Internet radio and personal music collections," said Ben Arnold, NPD director of industry analysis. 

NPD adds that growing interest in listening to music on mobile devices is translating to surging sales for complementary playback devices, in particular those integrating wireless local streaming. The firm reports wireless streaming speaker sales more than tripled in 2012, and wireless headphones grew by 34 percent. In addition, 28 percent of soundbars sold in 2012 support Bluetooth, compared to 6 percent in 2011.

"Products that enhance listening like streaming speakers and soundbars with Bluetooth and even premium headphones have experienced tremendous growth over the past year, [which] is evidence that consumers aren't only satisfied with music on-the-go--they increasingly want to use these devices for a better in-home music experience," Arnold said.

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