Global ASMR survey by Deezer uncovers helpful data about ASMR

ASMRU - white box - JPGDeezer is an online audio platform with a catalog of more than 90 million songs, playlists, podcasts and radio channels.

They recently launched two ASMR-related projects, ASMR Sessions (press release) and an ASMR Global Survey (press release).

ASMR sessions, the first project, was the re-creation of top hits by top artists into ASMR-style fusions.  Participating artists (and their re-created ASMR-stylized song) included

  • Alicia Keys (Fallin’)
  • James Blunt (You’re Beautiful)
  • Sir Tom Jones (What’s New Pussycat)
  • Ava Max (Kings and Queens)
  • YUNGBLUD (Parents).

I was fortunate to be able to work with Deezer as they produced these ASMR/Music fusion tracks.  Each musical artist, as well as the Deezer audio engineers, did a wonderful job of transforming these hit songs into ASMR-style experiences.  You can listen to these reimagined ASMR fusion songs HERE.

The rest of this article will focus on Deezer’s second ASMR project, the ASMR Global Survey.  I also worked with Deezer on the creation of the survey and the data summaries.  I’ll share the survey methods and general findings below.

The global survey was administered in April/May of 2021 by a market research company (CensusWide) to participants in the US, UK, Germany, Brazil, Mexico, and France.  Each country had about 2,000 participants who were randomly selected.  There was a total of 12,136 participants (ages ranged from 16 years to over 55 years), who consisted of 54% females, 43% males, and 3% who selected non-binary, other, or prefer not to say.

The percents shown below have been rounded to the nearest whole number.

****** Data from all participants ******
(100% of all participants, N=12,136)

Have you ever engaged with ASMR content? N=12,136

  • 62% Yes (once or more than once)
  • 38% No

Observations:

    • This survey indicates that the majority (62%) of people in 6 major countries have engaged with ASMR content as of early 2021.

[Participants listened to an audio clip] Please select your physical and emotional reactions while you listen to it. (Tick all that apply). N=12,136. Note: audio clip included sounds of tapping, fingersnapping, repeat words, and mic brushing.

  • 25% No physical or emotional reaction
  • 24% Calm or relaxed
  • 19% Annoyed or irritated
  • 15% Uncomfortable or creeped out
  • 14% Tingles on head and/or other body areas
  • 12% Sleepiness
  • 11% Shivers, chills, and/or goosebumps
  • 7% Sexual pleasure
  • 2% Other

Observations:

    • This study may represent the first random population sampling of ASMR, showing that 14% felt tingles, 24% felt calmed/relaxed, and 12% felt sleepiness.
    • The percent annoyed or irritated (19%) matches data from other studies that have determined that about 20% of the population experiences ‘misophonia’ (a feeling of extreme annoyance to specific sounds such as tapping, whispering, and other sounds which may be triggers for ASMR or misophonia).
    • Compared to the other countries, Mexico was most likely to feel calmed and feel tingles, USA was most likely to feel sleepiness, Brazil was most likely to feel sexual pleasure (3-4x more than other countries), and the UK was most likely to feel annoyed or irritated (2x more than other countries).
    • Females were more likely than males to feel annoyed or irritated, while males were more likely than females to feel sexual pleasure.  Other responses were not too different between the genders.
    • The following reactions were highest in the youngest group and consistently decreased as the age groups increased in years: calmed/relaxed, tingles, sleepiness, shivers/chills/goosebumps, sexual pleasure.  The following reactions were lowest in the youngest group and consistently increased as the age groups increased in years: no physical or emotional reaction, annoyed/irritated.  The age data trends may mean that ASMR fades as one gets older, or that younger individuals are more culturally accepting and open to the experience of ASMR content.

[Particpants watched a video clip for 30 seconds] Please select your physical and emotional reactions while you listen to it. (Tick all that apply).  N=12,136.  Note: Video contained young, attractive woman whispering into a 3dio dummy-head stereo microphone and gazing into the camera.  The open neck of the artist’s blouse may have added sensual/sexual imagery for some viewers.

  • 22% No physical or emotional reaction
  • 22% Calm or relaxed
  • 18% Sexual pleasure
  • 17% Annoyed or irritated
  • 17% Uncomfortable or creeped out
  • 14% Tingles on head and/or other body areas
  • 13% Sleepiness
  • 12% Shivers, chills, and/or goosebumps
  • 2% Other

Observations:

    • The percents and trends to the video clip were very similar to the responses to the prior audio clip.  The notable exception is that the selection of “sexual pleasure” increased greatly for the video clip (and was most selected by the 35-44 age group).  See the description of the video above for a potential reason.
    • With the above exception, it is quite remarkable that the ASMR audio clip and the ASMR video clip elicited very similar responses even though the content in each was quite different.  This may highlight or support that diverse ASMR triggers (auido, visual, mix of sources) converge to the same biological pathway to elicit a similar response.

Choose a word that best reflects how you perceive ASMR content even if today was your first time consuming it.  N=12,136.

  • 16% Strange
  • 15% Pleasant
  • 12% No feelings at all
  • 12% Gentle
  • 11% Irritating
  • 10% Intriguing
  • 7% Unnerving
  • 6% Beautiful
  • 5% Creepy
  • 5% Aroused
  • 1% Other

Observations:

    • 33% had a positive perception (selected a positive term: Pleasant, Gentle, or Beautiful)
    • 23% had a negative perception (selected a negative term: Irritating, Unnerving, Creepy)
    • Females were more likely than males to select negative terms, while males were more likely than females to select positive terms (and the term Aroused).
    • Older age groups were more likely to select negative terms, while younger age groups were more likely to select positive terms.
    • Brazil selected Pleasant and Gentle the most, the UK selected Irritating and Creepy the most, and the US selected Beautiful the most.

[Participants listened to individual sounds] Rate each sound as you listen by using the drop-down menu. N=12,136.  Note: Percents indicate the percent of participants who found that sound “Very appealing” or “Appealing”

  • 39% slow breathing and cupping sounds
  • 36% scissor snipping
  • 33% male soft speaking and whispering
  • 32% fast tapping
  • 32% slow crushing of paper bag
  • 31% subtle mouth sounds, light kisses
  • 30% tapping on hollow hair brush
  • 27% wet mouth smacking and chewing

Observations:

    • Several other studies have also reported mouth sounds and chewing sounds as some of the least popular ASMR trigger sounds.

Simulations or roleplay are popular ASMR Genres. Even if you have not seen / heard these before, which of the following ASMR simulations, if any, would you find most appealing? N=12,136.

  • 29% Massage and guided relaxation
  • 12% Motivational session: inspirational and affirmative statements
  • 11% Hairdresser: washing, cutting
  • 10% Make-up application: cosmetic make-up, stage make-up etc
  • 7% Teaching session: foreign language, math, geography, etc
  • 5% Clinical examination: teeth, eyes, ears, etc
  • 26% None of the above

Observations:

    • It is surprising to see Clinical Examinations as the least appealing because these are some of the most popular ASMR roleplay style videos.  Participants may have interpreted the question to mean that the viewer would be observing these as role-plays, rather than experiencing these role-plays as a simulation in which they would be receiving the actions of the ASMR artist.
    • UK was most likely to choose “none of the above”

Which accents, if any, most appeal to you in spoken or whispered ASMR content? (Tick up to five) N=12,136.

  • French 21%
  • American 19%
  • Spanish 18%
  • British 15%
  • Mexican Spanish 12%
  • German 12%
  • Japanese 8%
  • Russian 7%
  • Korean 7%
  • Irish 6%
  • Norwegian 3%
  • Welsh 3%
  • Other please specify 3%
  • No accents most appeal to me in spoken or whispered ASMR content 18%
  • Unsure 8%

Observations

    • The top 6 preferred accents also reflect the 6 countries that were polled, showing an accent preference bias.  For example, France was one of the countries and French was a top 5 accent.  Additionally, each of the 6 countries selected their own ‘accent’ as their most preferred accent.  For example, “French” was the most preferred accent from the participants in France.
    • Overall though, it would be accurate to say that the French accent is the most preferred accent of all 6 countries (but not the most preferred by each country).
    • Curiously, 15% of males selected “no accents most appeal to me…” while 21% of females selected this option.  This shows that males are more likely than females to have an accent preference in their ASMR content.
    • Similarly, the youngest age group selected “no accents most appeal to me…” and each increasing age group was progressively more likely to select “no accents most appeal to me…”  This shows that younger ages are more likely than older ages to have an accent preference in their ASMR content.

Do you have a gender preference when listening to spoken or whispered ASMR content? Select one option. N=12,136.

  • Female 45%
  • No gender preference 30%
  • Male 18%
  • Unsure 7%

Observations

    • The stronger preference for female content creators could be due to the current dominance of females as ASMR content creators (so preference is for what one is used to already), cultural expectations (females more often represented in media and culture to be more nurturing), and/or biological drives (hormones and neurotransmitters may create a biological preference to receive caring behaviors from females).  The reason is probably due to a mix of all 3 influences.
    • Males had a stronger preference than females for content created by females, 51% vs 42% respectively. Males also had a stronger preference than females for content created by males, 23% vs 13%, respectively.  So overall, females were more likely than males to NOT have any gender preference for the content creator, 38% vs 20% respectively.
    • The oldest age group were most likely to NOT have any gender preference for the content creator.

****** Data from participants who have engaged with ASMR content ******
(62% of all respondents, N=7595)

Approximately, how often do you consume ASMR content e.g. video or audio tracks? N=7595. 

  • 21% Daily (1x or more per day)
  • 39% Weekly (1-6 days per week)
  • 15% Monthly (1-3 days per month)
  • 25% Less than monthly

Observations:

    • About 60% of all ASMR consumers in this study are engaging with ASMR content at least once a week (21% Daily + 39% Weekly = 60%).
    • Males and females for all countries had similar daily engagement with ASMR content (21% vs 22%)
    • Ages 25-34 had the highest daily engagement with ASMR content and ages 55+ had the lowest engagement frequency.
    • Brazil had the highest daily engagement with ASMR content and France had the lowest engagement frequency.

To what extent do you like or dislike ASMR content? N=7595.

  • 55% selected Like, Strongly Like, or Love
  • 31% selected Neutral
  • 14% selected Dislike, Strongly Disklike, or Hate

Observations:

    • Brazil selected Like, Strongly Like, or Love the most (71%), and France selected one of those terms the least (42%).
    • Ages 35-44 selected Like, Strongly Like, or Love the most (64%), and Ages 55+ selected those terms the least (48%).
    • There were not any big differences between males and females in their like or dislike for ASMR content.

Select your top reasons for consuming ASMR content (video or audio-only; Tick up to three) N=7595.

  • 36% To help reduce my stress
  • 35% To help comfort or relax me
  • 31% For entertainment
  • 28% To help me fall asleep
  • 21% To help lift my mood
  • 13% To help me focus on a task
  • 9% To help reduce my physical pain
  • 8% For sexual pleasure
  • 4% Other 

Observations:

    • Females were more likely than males to use ASMR content for stress reduction, relaxation, falling asleep, and entertainment.  Males were more likely than females to use ASMR content for lifting mood, focusing, and sexual pleasure.
    • Younger ages (16-24) were more likely than other age groups to use ASMR content for entertainment.  Older ages (55+) were more likely than all other age groups to use ASMR content for falling asleep, physical pain, and sexual pleasure.
    • Brazil was more likely than other countries to use ASMR content for stress reduction, relaxation, falling asleep, and low mood.

At what point do you feel a physical or emotional reaction when consuming ASMR content? N=7595.

  • 25% First few seconds
  • 37% After a few minutes
  • 15% Halfway through or towards the end
  • 8% Sometime after
  • 14% I do not experience a physical or emotional reaction
  • 1% Other

Observations:

    • The majority (62%) of ASMR experiencers feel a reaction within the first few minutes of consuming ASMR content.
    • 16% of females did not experience a physical or emotional reaction to ASMR content, compared to 11% of males.
    • France was most likely to not experience a reaction to ASMR content (20%).
    • The youngest group (16-24) were most likely to not experience a reaction to ASMR content (19%)

****** Data from participants who have engaged with ASMR content & felt a reaction ******
(54% of all respondents, N=6503)

After consuming ASMR content (video or audio clip), how long do your physical and emotional reactions last? N=6503.

  • 25% Only for the duration of the content
  • 41% Between 1-10 minutes after
  • 21% Between 11-30 minutes after
  • 8% Between 31-60 minutes after
  • 5% More than 60 minutes

Observations:

    • The feelings of ASMR tended to fade for the majority (66%) of experiencers within 10 minutes after the content has ended (25% + 41% = 66%)
    • Males were slightly more likely than females to have longer lasting reactions to ASMR content.
    • Ages 16-24 had the shortest reactions to ASMR content, and ages 35-54 had the longest reactions to ASMR content.
    • Brazil showed the longest lasting reactions to ASMR content compared to other countries.

Learn more about ASMR research:

Learn more about ASMR:

Want to be alerted of new blog articles, and/or new podcast episodes?  Enter your email into the ***SAVE TIME*** widget (located in the sidebar or footer area).

Scroll down to Print, Share, Reblog, Like, Jump to related posts, or Comment.

This post brought to you by ASMR University.  A site with the mission of increasing the awareness, understanding, and research of the Art and Science of Autonomous Sensory Meridian Response.

Comment On This Topic (your email will not be displayed publicly)

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.