Press release

Smartphone Consumer Usage Survey Shows 40 Percent Increase in Speaker Mode Use as More People Work from Home and Share Social Media During Global Pandemic

Sponsored by Businesswire

Consumers are increasingly using smartphone speakers to watch and share video via social media, participate in video calls and listen to podcasts or music while multitasking, according to a global survey conducted by SAR Insight & Consulting and sponsored by Cirrus Logic (Nasdaq: CRUS). Survey respondents said the need for convenience, the ability to multitask, or listen to music, podcasts or audio books to create a good atmosphere were key reasons for their increased use of speaker mode over the past 12 months. This in turn is driving consumer desire for improved audio performance from mobile devices and could influence their future purchasing decisions.

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(Graphic: Business Wire)

(Graphic: Business Wire)

The survey, conducted in China, Germany, United States, United Kingdom and South Korea, asked participants how they used their phones, when they used speaker mode and to what extent audio performance mattered in today’s more heavily video- and audio-reliant applications. Results from the 1,722 participants, ranging in age from 18 to over 65, revealed that 40 percent of people have increased their use of speaker mode when enjoying audio content during the past year. Younger age groups are driving this increase across the board, particularly in China where 46 percent of respondents say they are increasing their use of smartphone speakers.

“As more people work from home during the pandemic, the use of speaker mode in smartphones for multitasking and connecting with family and friends has increased,” said Peter Cooney, founder and research director, SAR Insight. “Conditions due to COVID-19 are driving different usage scenarios with consumers worldwide, especially 18-to 34-year-olds who are relying more on a variety of smartphone applications that require better audio, indicative of behavior that we expect to continue beyond the pandemic.”

While consumers still use their phones for phone calls, a wider range of applications such as listening to music, podcasts and audio books, watching movies or sharing video content and gaming were equally important in their everyday behavior. Consumers cited heavy speaker mode use for sending and receiving voice messages, with the younger age group (ages 18-34) far more likely to game, watch video or share content via speakers. Thirty-four percent of total respondents stated they used speaker mode simply to create a good atmosphere. Fifty-three and 57 percent of U.S. and German respondents, respectively, stated convenience as the number one reason when using speaker mode for video and conference calls.

In China, a highly mobile-focused country and therefore a leading indicator of global trends, 78 percent liked sharing social media videos and content on speaker mode, and more than half said they used speaker mode to create a good atmosphere, especially for gaming. South Korea followed with 67 percent preferring speaker mode to share social content with family and friends and almost half preferring to do other things while talking on the phone.

Audio quality gaining importance in purchase-making decisions

Globally, respondents agreed that the importance of audio in their purchase-making decision process for mobile devices was on the rise. Chinese respondents in particular reported a desire for better audio speakers, with 72 percent stating that audio is becoming more important in their decision to buy a smartphone and 62 percent of Chinese users saying they are only somewhat satisfied with their current smartphone speaker audio.

Survey respondents worldwide named a number of additional reasons for using speaker mode on their phones today, such as for exercise, e-learning, dance practice or karaoke, researching online or simply when they can’t hear the other caller clearly enough in receiver mode. Users responded that they do not use speaker mode primarily when they are concerned about disturbing others, preserving battery life or lacking audio/speaker quality.

New Cirrus Logic CS35L45 smart amp addresses audio quality, battery life concerns

Today’s introduction of the Cirrus Logic CS35L45 smart power amplifier is designed to address consumer demand for higher audio performance through smartphone speakers while preserving battery life, making consumers’ future smartphone purchasing decisions easier.

“Consumers around the world are telling us that quality audio is an increasingly important feature in smartphones,” said Carl Alberty, vice president of Mixed-Signal Products, Cirrus Logic. “With Cirrus Logic’s newest boosted amplifier, we’re providing consumers with a more enjoyable, immersive audio experience by helping smartphone manufacturers provide greater loudness and dynamic range without sacrificing bass or quality, all while protecting the speaker and preserving battery life.”

For more information on the survey and the methodology used, visit SAR Insight where a white paper titled, “An Analysis of the Use of Speaker Mode in Smartphones and Consumer Trends,” can be downloaded.

Cirrus Logic, Inc.

Cirrus Logic is a leader in low-power, high-precision mixed-signal processing solutions that create innovative user experiences for the world’s top mobile and consumer applications. With headquarters in Austin, Texas, Cirrus Logic is recognized globally for its award-winning corporate culture. Check us out at

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