While consumers are wired to respond to visuals, the podcast industry has grown significantly over the years. One reason for its success is the convenience that it offers. Considering that multitasking has become second nature to us, this medium allows us to get information while we continue with our daily lives, whether that’s commuting to work, cooking, or exercising.
Though, it’s not always used purely as a source of information. Some listeners have found a like-minded community via podcasts. As podcast hosts often interact with their subscribers on social media platforms, it’s actually more engaging than it sounds.
From a creator’s point of view, podcasting also presents another opportunity for making money online from the comfort of your own home. Overall, it’s pretty easy to start a podcast and there are free platforms that can help you to monetize your content. Plus, as you don’t have to release a new episode every single day, it can be a manageable side hustle.
If you’re still not convinced that podcasting’s success isn’t going to be brief, take a look at the following statistics. As you’ll see, for the past decade, it has only grown.
20 Podcast Statistics You Should Know:
1. There are over 2 million podcasts
Currently, there are more than two million active podcasts, according to Podcast Insights 2021. Three years ago, there were only about a quarter of that. With regards to the number of podcast episodes specifically, as of April 2021 there were over 48 million episodes.
2. 78% of Americans Are Aware of Podcasting
This might sound like a trivial statistic to mention, but considering that in 2006 just over 20% of the adult population in the US knew about podcasting, it’s kind of a big thing. Fast-forward 15 years and the vast majority (78%) of the population have caught on.
3. 91% of Australians Are Aware of Podcasting
If you thought that podcasting was huge in the United States, it doesn’t compare to podcasting awareness in Australia. In 2021, 91% of the Australian population older than 12 were aware of podcasting!
What’s even more impressive is that in 2020, 20% of the participants in The Infinite Dial’s survey indicated that they listened to podcasts on a daily basis. Almost a quarter stated that they listened to it at least once a week.
4. Almost 60% of US Consumers Listen to Podcasts
According to data shared by Statista, almost 60% of all US consumers older than 12 listen to podcasts. What’s more, the number of podcast listeners have steadily increased during the past eight years. While it only increased from 55% to 57% in the past year, it has doubled over the last 10 years.
5. 160+ Million Americans Have Listened to a Podcast
According to The Infinite Dial 2021 from Edison Research and Triton Digital, the longest-running survey of digital media consumer behavior in America, it’s estimated that 162 million US citizens older than 12 have listened to a podcast. In 2006, it was merely 11 million.
6. 65% Listen to the Whole Episode
According to The MIDAS Survey, the majority of podcast listeners (65%) listen to the whole episode. What’s equally impressive is that 68% listen to almost all of the episodes that they’ve downloaded.
According to The Infinite Dial’s report, this is slightly lower in Australia. Here, only 57% indicated that they listened to the entire podcast episode. Though, most didn’t wait too long to start listening to the episode that they’ve downloaded. Half indicated that they listened to the episode within 24 hours of downloading it. Less than 10% of downloaded episodes were only listened to after a week.
7. 41% of the US Population Listen to Podcasts on a Monthly Basis
It was estimated that in 2020, 37% of the US population older than 12 listened to a podcast on a monthly basis. What’s more, it’s anticipated to increase to 41% in 2021. The only year that this percentage didn’t increase was in 2013.
When you compare the percentage of the total US population older than 12 that listened to other types of online audio each month, it’s clear that podcasting is a popular medium. According to the same report, it was estimated that in 2020 about 68% of the total US population older than 12 listened to online audio each month. By online audio, the report refers to listening to streamed audio content available only on the internet and/or AM/FM radio stations online. Listening to online audio was most popular among the 12-34 age group, while only 42% of those older than 55 indicated that they listened to online audio. This was also the finding of Insider Intelligence.
What’s more, with regards to the next few years the number of monthly podcast listeners could be as high as 144 million by the end of 2025. Though, other forecasts suggest that it could already exceed 160 by the end of 2023.
8. 28% of the US Population Listen to Podcasts on a Weekly Basis
The weekly habits look a bit differently. It’s estimated that in 2021, only 28% of the total US population older than 12 listened to a podcast on a weekly basis. Though, unlike monthly listeners, weekly listeners have increased every year since 2013.
9. Eight Podcasts Are Listened to Per Week On Average
According to The Infinite Dial 2021, US weekly podcast listeners averaged eight podcasts in the last week. Only 11% of US podcast listeners older than 12 listened to only one podcast in the last week. Most (21%) listened to about five, while 19% listened to anything from six to 10 podcasts per week.
In Australia, the weekly podcast listeners averaged six podcasts. Though, 10% indicated that they listened to 11 or more podcasts in the last week.
10. Average Time Spent Listening to Online Audio Was Down in 2020
Surprisingly, according to The Infinite Dial, the average time spent listening to online audio was down in 2020. In 2019, online audio listeners older than 12 spent an average of 16 hours and 43 minutes per week. In 2020, it was only 15 hours and 12 minutes – more than an hour less.
With regards to podcasts specifically, Insider Intelligence estimates the time spent listening to podcasts at more than 44 minutes per day.
11. Podcast Listening Peaks in the Morning
According to The MIDAS Survey, the listening peak for podcasts is between 08:15 and 08:30 a.m. Other popular times include between 11:00 and 11:15 a.m. and again at 5:30 p.m.
12. Radio Is the Most Popular Audio Source While Driving
When it comes to audio sources in the car, AM/FM radio still outperformed podcasts in 2020. According to The Infinite Dial, only 28% used podcasts as an audio source in the car, compared to 81% that tuned into radio stations.
While podcasts might not be the favorite thing to listen to while driving, The MIDAS Survey found that most of the time when people are listening to podcasts, they’re driving or traveling. Almost a third of listening hours are completed when traveling. Other times that people tend to listen to podcasts are when they’re relaxing or doing nothing in particular, studying, working, or completing household chores.
Though, this is not the case in Australia. Travel south and you’ll find that the vast majority (87%) of podcast listeners prefer to listen to a podcast while they’re at home instead of on the road.
13. Mobile Phones Are the Preferred Device
The car stereo system might not be the preferred source for podcast listening, but the mobile phone definitely is. Mobile phones account for 79% of the podcast listening hours! The second most-used device is laptops (15%) with tablets (6%) in third spot.
While voice activated speakers are used for 2% of podcast listening, the increase in smart speakers is noteworthy and might change future listener behavior. In just the span of a year, smart speaker ownership increased by over 20%. This gives listeners more chances to discover new podcasts from the comfort of their own home.
14. More Men Listen to Podcasts
In the UK, podcasting is slightly more popular among men. The MIDAS Survey found that in 2020 54% of men compared to 46% of women listen to podcasts.
In the US, the picture is the same, though the gap is smaller. According to data shared by The Infinite Dial 2021, in 2021, 43% of men listened to a podcast in the last month, compared to 39% of women.
15. Podcasting Is Growing More Popular Among Older Listeners
While people older than 55 account for the smallest percentage of monthly podcast listeners, interest in this medium is growing. In 2011, it was estimated that only 14% of the US population older than 55 listened to a podcast on a monthly basis. In 2016, it increased to 17%, while in 2021 it’s estimated at 21% of the population.
The percentage of listeners in the 12-34 age group more or less stayed the same during this period. From 2011 to 2021, it only increased by 4%.
On the other hand, the percentage of monthly podcast listeners decreased for the 35-54 age group. In 2011, they accounted for 40% of the audience, but in the past 10 years that percentage dropped to below 30%.
16. Pandora Boasts the Best Brand Awareness
According to The Infinite Dial’s data, when it comes to audio brand awareness, Pandora, a leading music and podcast discovery platform, is in first place. More than 80% of respondents were aware of the brand. iHeartRadio, an American broadcast, podcast and streaming audio platform was in second place (73%), followed by Spotify (72%). Though, according to Insider Intelligence, Spotify is expected to become the most popular podcast platform in the US in 2021.
17. 74% of Podcasters Use Headphones While Recording
According to podcast statistics shared by Riverside, the majority (74%) of podcasters use headphones when they’re recording during post production. Wearing headphones when you’re recording can improve microphone technique. So, while it’s good to know that most take advantage of technology, there are still a fair amount of podcasters who are amateur in this regard.
18. Podcast Ad Revenues Expected to Exceed $2 Billion in 2023
Not only are the number of podcasts and listeners increasing, but also the ad revenues. According to eMarketer, it’s anticipated that US marketers will spend more than $1.3 billion on podcast ads in 2021. What’s more, it’s expected that it will exceed the $2 billion mark in two years and in 2025 it will be closer to $3 billion.
Even more impressive is that according to a Discover Pods survey, nearly 90% of podcast listeners feel that podcast ads work. More than half have bought a product based on a podcast ad, while other data reports that 58% would rather skip the ad.
19. The Top Patreon Creator is the True Crime Obsessed Podcast
With over 46,000 patrons, True Crime Obsessed is the top Patreon creator at the time of writing this article according to Patreon statistics about revenue and users. It was first launched in January 2018 and offers four subscription tiers, with the lowest plan starting at $5 per month. While $5 per month doesn’t sound like much, it adds up. According to Graphtreon, the estimated earnings per month is over $125,000 (but it could even be as high as $342,000).
Other popular podcasts on Patreon are Chapo Trap House, The Tim Dillon Show, and You’re Wrong About. All these creators have over 30,000 patrons.
20. The Demographics of Podcast Listeners Are Diversifying
When looking at race and gender specifically, data gathered indicates that the demographics of podcast listeners are becoming more diverse and varied. In 2021, podcast listeners were still mostly white men, but it has become more popular among female and Hispanic/Latino listeners during recent years.