Nielsen Book Releases Australian Audiobook Consumer Research

In News by Porter Anderson

What’s reported to be the first study of audiobook consumer behavior in Australia points to a new, young audience for the format, many of whom have only tried listening to a book in the last year.

Nielsen Book’s new research data from Australia indicates that YouTube reviews are a factor in driving younger consumers to try audiobooks. Image – iStockphoto: FTiare

By Porter Anderson, Editor-in-Chief | @Porter_Anderson

Study: YouTube Reviews Appear To Play a Role
Many who follow audio in the world publishing industry are looking forward to the audio track, a week from today (October 15) in the Frankfurt Conference lineup. As we reported Wednesday (October 7), Storytel’s founding CEO Jonas Tellander has been confirmed as the keynote speaker.

Today (October 8), Nielsen Book in London has released what it says is the first study devoted to, as the title has it, “Understanding the Australian Audiobook Consumer.” The report, running to 70 pages, is a familiar product to those who know Nielsen’s annual “Understanding the UK Audiobook Consumer,” published since 2015.

The text of the newly produced study points to, essentially, a new consumer base for the format, saying, “Thirty-seven percent of audiobook consumers started listening in the last 12 months,” in Australia, “with the newest recruits being the largest portion of audiobook consumers in 2020.”

Not only are newcomers the most engaged, it seems, but the report’s findings seem to indicate they’re young.

Older consumers, in the context of this study’s research, are described as audiobook veterans with nearly one in three reporting to have listened to audiobooks for the first time around 6 years or more ago.

Image: Nielsen Book: Understanding the Australian Audiobook Consumer

Top Barrier to Audiobook Purchase in Australia: Price

The field work for the report was carried out from April 8 to May 7 using online interviews with 1,500 Australian adults aged 18 to 84 and classified as audiobook consumers based on audiobook listening and purchasing behavior in the last year.

While younger consumers have the highest share of engagement, the report’s indications tend to recommend the format as a youth play in the Australian market.

A logical connection here is being made in terms of YouTube reviews being cited as influential in prompting first-time audiobook buys.

“A significant 40 percent of audiobook consumers,” as the study puts it, say “they were influenced by a review on YouTube. In addition, reviews on Facebook were often successful in persuading people to try audiobooks, with 36 percent of respondents indicating this had been a key factor.”

And in terms of point-of-purchase persuasion, “Thirty-three percent of respondents were influenced by a low price offer on Audible,” the study reports.

“Australian audiobook consumers are proving to be quite sensitive to audiobook pricing,” in fact, according to the highlighted results of the study.”

In the Australian 2020 study, the price of an audiobook was named as the No. 1 barrier to increased audiobook consumption for Australian audiences, whereas participants in the equivalent 2019 UK Nielsen Book study indicated not liking the narrator’s voice as the biggest impediment.

Australian consumers most commonly expected audiobooks to cost between $10 and $11.99, regardless of whether the format was physical or digital.”

More than half of Australian audiobook listeners surveyed said they believe they’ve increased their listening in the last five years, with one in five saying that he or she has increased his or her listening by a lot.

“About a third of consumers perceiving an increase in listening say this is at the expense of reading print books, and a fifth at the expense of reading ebooks,” the report’s discussion says.

Top-selling audiobooks in the Australian market in 2020 so far, Nielsen says, have been:

  • The Enchanted Wood by Enid Blyton (Bolinda Publishing)
  • The Magic Faraway Tree by Enid Blyton (Bolinda Publishing)
  • Meditations for Breaking the Habit of Being Yourself by Joe Dispenza (Hay House)

Publishing players interesting in buying the new Nielsen Book report can inquire at

Frankfurter Conference’s Audio Track

In addition to Jonas Tellander, speakers in the October 15 audio track of Frankfurt Conference 2020 will include:

  • Magnus Nytell, head of Nextory’s global expansion
  • Javier Celaya, the founding CEO of Dosdoce
  • Scribd’s director of international content acquisition July MacKay
  • Saga Egmont editor-in-chief Mette Hammerich Caserta
  • Alice Lloyd of Orion Publishing; Deezer’s Deborah Jourdan
  • Clarissa Pabi, content development manager with Acast
  • Penguin Random House Audio’s vice-president for content and business development, Lance Fitzgerald
  • Podimo’s co-founder and chief of strategic relations, Eva Kristine Lægdsgaard

More on Frankfurter Buchmesse Special Edition–including programming highlights and news from the international publishing industry–is in our special magazine, ready for your free download: Frankfurt Through a Screen.

More from Publishing Perspectives on audiobooks is here, more from us on the Australian market is here, more on Nielsen’s work is here, and more of our Frankfurter Buchmesse coverage is here.

More on the coronavirus COVID-19 pandemic and its impact on international book publishing is here and at the CORONAVIRUS tab at the top of each page of our site.

About the Author

Porter Anderson

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Porter Anderson has been named International Trade Press Journalist of the Year in London Book Fair's International Excellence Awards. He is Editor-in-Chief of Publishing Perspectives. He formerly was Associate Editor for The FutureBook at London's The Bookseller. Anderson was for more than a decade a senior producer and anchor with, CNN International, and CNN USA. As an arts critic (Fellow, National Critics Institute), he was with The Village Voice, the Dallas Times Herald, and the Tampa Tribune, now the Tampa Bay Times. He co-founded The Hot Sheet, a newsletter for authors, which now is owned and operated by Jane Friedman.