Agora’s new report also found that 60% prefer to use a service with spatial audio in the Metaverse
SANTA CLARA, CA – September 21, 2022 – Agora, Inc. (NASDAQ: API), a pioneer and leading platform for real-time engagement APIs, today announced the results of a commissioned study that examines Gen Z preferences regarding spatial audio. The study is released ahead of RTE2022, the world’s largest conference exploring real-time engagement (RTE) technologies, set to take place from October 10 to October 12, 2022.
Spatial audio enables users to hear three-dimensional (3D) audio, mirroring how sound behaves in the real world, where each sound originates from a specific location. From the Metaverse to video conferencing, spatial audio is creating opportunities to digest video and audio content in new and immersive ways, with companies like Meta and Apple investing heavily in the technology.
For the study, Agora surveyed over 1,500 Gen Z consumers to get their thoughts on spatial audio. Key results include:
Spatial Audio Awareness is Growing
Prior to the survey, nearly half (49%) of respondents had heard of spatial audio, though 51% were either unaware of the technology or not sure if they had heard of it before. Relatedly, half of respondents (50%) agree there have been fewer advances to live audio experiences compared to live video over the years.
“This technology is in its infancy from an adoption standpoint as large technology companies – whether content, software or hardware-focused – are only just beginning to invest in it,” said Tony Zhao, Co-founder and CEO of Agora. “However, its awareness among Gen Z is fairly high – and growing. They are welcoming it as much-needed innovation, especially as interest in the Metaverse and virtual content consumption continues to surge.”
When asked in what setting spatial audio experiences are most important, gaming (24%) and watching TV shows or movies (21%) took the lead, followed by virtual shows or concerts (14%), audiobooks/podcasts (9%), online presentations (9%), and virtual hangouts (9%). Virtual tours of a physical space (8%) and in-store shopping experiences (5%) were deemed the least important settings for spatial audio experiences.
Gen Z is Willing to Invest in Hearing Spatial Audio
In line with Gen Z’s awareness of spatial audio, nearly 80% (79%) of respondents said they would pay for new headphones with spatial audio features – while over one-quarter (28%) say they would pay regardless of price.
“The Gen Z audience sees the value of spatial audio and is willing to invest in the hardware required to experience it,” said Zhao. “These numbers should give technology companies greater confidence when considering whether or not to invest in spatial audio features and capabilities.”
Meanwhile, 26% said they wouldn’t want to pay more than $50 for new headphones with spatial audio capabilities and 25% wouldn’t want to pay more than $100.
Spatial Audio is Key in the Metaverse
Looking at the Metaverse, 60% of Gen Z consumers said they’d prefer to use a Metaverse service with 3D spatial audio, meaning voices and sounds in the virtual environment are heard based on proximity to the sound source. A little over one-third (34%) were neutral, with 6% saying they wouldn’t prefer to use a service with 3D spatial audio in the Metaverse.
“As more brands get involved in the metaverse, technology like spatial audio will be a necessity to creating immersive, engaging experiences during virtual interactions,” said Zhao. “There is clear interest from consumers to invest in hardware to experience spatial audio, and businesses across industries should find ways to get involved in this niche, yet important part of delivering immersive experiences.”
Agora is the leading Real-time Engagement Platform as a Service (RTE PaaS) company. Agora’s mission is to make real-time engagement ubiquitous, allowing everyone to interact with anyone, in any application, anytime and anywhere. Agora’s platform provides developers with simple, flexible and powerful application programming interfaces, or APIs, to embed real-time video and voice engagement experiences into their applications.