Podcast Statistics: All Signs Point to Growth

Podcast Statistics: All Signs Point to Growth

Podcasts are becoming more and more mainstream. A few years ago, it was seen as niche and quirky to have a podcast. Now, they’re seen by many as a key form of media in the modern age. Plenty of new podcasts have popped up over the last year or so, and there are lots of new genres as well.

But, it’s one thing to state that podcasts are massive, and it’s another to have proof that backs it up. Below, we’ve collected some of the most exciting podcast statistics that prove podcasts are a new go-to medium. They relate to podcast growth, audience listening habits, and much more. So, settle down and get ready to see the top podcast statistics.

There are over 750,000 active podcasts

The most recent data suggests that there are currently over 750,000 active podcasts out there right now. An “active podcast” is any podcast that continues to be updated and roll out new episodes. So, this doesn’t account for ones that might have ended a few years ago but are still available.

Additionally, there are over 30 million podcasts episodes available to listen to right now. These stats come from earlier in 2019, so as is the nature of podcasts, this number will have grown by the time you read this. Compare this to 2018, when Apple made a comment at WWDC that there were 550,000 active podcasts and 18.5 million episodes.

Consequently, we’ve seen astronomical growth in the podcast world in as little as 12 months. All the data suggests that these numbers will continue going up.

Over half of the US population has listened to a podcast

51% of the US population has listened to at least one podcast. This is already impressive but think about the population of the US in terms of who can actually listen to podcasts. There are plenty of children and senior citizens included in the population who won’t have access or desire to listen to podcasts.

This is backed up by the fact that 94% of podcast listeners are between the ages of 18 and 65. So, if we looked at how many adults in the US have listened to a podcast, then the figure would well be over that baseline 51%.

Nevertheless, it’s well worth noting that the figure for last year was 44%. So, it’s already gone up by 7% in just one whole year.

32% of people listen to podcasts monthly, and 22% listen to at least one per week

Compare that to 2018, and we were looking at 26% of the population listening monthly, and 17% listening every week. Again, the podcast growth continues to show.

As more podcasts come on the market, there’s a new diversity of choice for the listener. It’s conceivable that many people now have a podcast that appeals to their tastes that might not have existed last year. So, they have more of an incentive to listen once a month or once a week.

67% of the podcast audience is between 18-44 years of age

We mentioned how a large majority of the podcast audience falls between 18 and 65. But, of those, only 27% of listeners are between 45 and 65. The remaining 67% are considered to be “young people” between the ages of 18 and 44.

This shows that podcasts are mostly popular with Millenials and Gen Z. It’s probably not surprising when you think about how podcasts are accessed. More often than not, they’re streamed on mobile devices or downloaded online. This age group is familiar with technology. In contrast, the older generation might struggle to find podcasts or know how to stream them.

52% of podcast listeners are male, while 48% are female

This is to be expected as there’s no real difference in male and female podcast consumption. We can’t see any trends that indicate a significant shift either way—it will probably stay around the 50/50 mark at all times.

70% of the population has heard of the term “podcasting”

Podcasting is quickly becoming a well-known term in households up and down the country. A year ago, 64% of people were familiar with podcasting. Now, it’s increased by 6%. Everything suggests this will increase yet again, and it’s further evidence that podcasts are becoming more well-known.

Even if someone doesn’t consume podcasts, there’s a big chance that they will understand what they are!

Smartphones are the primary medium for listening to podcasts

Research suggests that the majority of podcast consumption is done via smartphones. When we look deeper into the stats, we can see that 54% of podcast listening is done via Apple iOS, while 43% is on Android.

There has been a 157% increase in smartphone use for podcast consumption since 2014. As a podcast owner, this is something you should be aware of. It hints at the need to get your shows onto platforms that are easily accessible via smartphones, like Apple Podcasts and Spotify.

49% of podcast listening takes place in the home

You’re probably a little bit surprised by this, but let’s look at what the stat actually says. When you look at it, it feels like it says that the majority of people consume podcasts at home. However, let’s see where the remaining 51% of podcast listening takes place:

  • 22% in the car
  • 11% at work
  • 4% on public transport
  • 4% in the gym
  • 3% while walking
  • 7% in other situations

So, most of podcast listening takes place outside of the home—but only just. You’d still expect the home listening figure to be lower as podcast listening has traditionally seemed like something you do when you’re out and about. But, this perhaps nods towards the idea that podcasts are a mainstream form of multimedia entertainment. Instead of sitting down to watch TV, people are settling down to listen to a podcast!

80% of listeners will listen to the entire podcast episode

This is a remarkably high retention rate when compared to other mediums. However, it is down from 86% in 2017. Should you be concerned? Probably not, there are some logical explanations for this.

Mainly, there are more podcasts available than ever before, so audiences want to try and consume as many as possible in what little time they have available to them. This is backed up by the following stat:

Podcast audiences listen to around 7 different shows per week

Compare this to 2017, and listeners only had around 5 shows going per week. So, it shows that people are looking to consume more and more podcasts all the time. As such, there’s less time to get through each episode, and the next one is always teed up and ready to go. So, we’ve seen a slight drop in audience retention for episodes, but the actual audience consumption is on the up.

Podcast listeners are subscribed to 6 shows on average

Subscriptions are something we haven’t really touched upon as of yet. While people can listen to as many podcasts as they want, they might not subscribe to all of them. Subscribing is when they commit themselves to being a fan and want to be notified when new episodes are released.

On average, a podcast listener will be subscribed to 6 different shows.

An average of 6hrs 37mins is spent listening to podcasts per week

Podcast listeners who listen to at least one podcast per week will spend just over 6.5 hours listening to podcasts every week. That’s just under one hour per day of podcast consumption, on average.

Again, this goes to show the growth in popularity as people are devoting huge chunks of their weeks to this entertainment medium.

19% of listeners will increase the speed-rate

This means that they will increase the speed of the podcast so it passes by quicker. It probably tells us how avid podcast fans manage to consume so many hours of podcasts every week! By speeding the podcast up, it lets them get through it a lot quicker than usual.

Is this something for you to be wary of when you produce your shows? Just a small minority of people do this, but it does show you that people don’t really have much spare time on their hands. So, it might be worth shortening episodes—particularly if you find people aren’t finishing them.

Society & Culture is the most popular genre

People love podcasts because they come in many varieties and genres. There are hundreds of genres and subgenres out there, but Society & Culture is the most popular. This includes podcasts relating to cultural debates, commentaries on society, opinions on various topics, and so on.

Coming in at second is Business—people love listening to business experts expel their knowledge.

In third, we have Comedy. There are so many comedy podcasts available, and the only surprise is that this genre isn’t in the top two.

Fourth on the list is News & Politics. Lots of consumers are getting their news information from podcasts by their favorite journalists and news outlets.

Rounding off the top five, we have Health, which includes podcasts on diet, nutrition, fitness, the human body, and so on.

When we look at these categories, we can safely say that the majority of people indulge in podcasts because they’re looking for information or entertainment. All of these categories, bar Comedy, will mainly educate and inform. So, it’s worth taking that into consideration if you’re thinking about starting a new podcast.

94% of podcast listeners are active on social media

This stat shows that the vast majority of podcast listeners will use at least one form of social media fairly regularly. How does this stand up to the general population? Well, 81% of people are believed to be active on social media.

So, this indicates that podcast listeners are much more active and keen to take to social media. From a podcast owner’s perspective, this stat is critical. It tells you that social media is an excellent way to reach out to your audience and try to grow your podcast.

Similarly, it’s found that podcast listeners are more likely to follow companies on social media than the general population. This makes it borderline essential that every podcast brand has at least one social media page. Use it to grow your following, and your podcast can become more successful.

Podcast listeners are more likely to subscribe to TV streaming services

In comparison to the rest of the population, podcast listeners are more likely to own subscriptions for Netflix, Amazon Prime, Hulu, and so on.

What does this tell us? Primarily, it means these people aren’t going to see traditional TV advertising as much as the general public. If they use streaming services, they reduce their broadcast TV consumption. As a result, it throws into question whether or not your podcast should even think about paying for TV spots. If your audience is mainly on social media or uses streaming services, then surely you’re better off spending your money elsewhere.

69% of listeners agreed that podcast advertising was effective

From an advertising standpoint, nearly 70% of podcast consumers said they felt like podcast ads helped them become aware of new products and brands. This is a massive stat for the advertising industry! It shows there’s a growing trend toward podcasts being an effective advertising medium.

You might not think this means much to a podcast show owner, but it’s highly significant. If advertisers see how podcast advertising can generate more interest and sales, they’ll increase their investment in this medium. Therefore, you could earn more money from your podcast because of this increased investment. Don’t just take our word for it, the stats back it up.

Podcast ad revenue was $514 million in 2019

The ad revenue you can make from podcasts has increased from $402 million in previous years to $514 million in the last year. As of right now, the most recent predictions claim that it can go up to $659 million in 2020. So, this goes to show that businesses are investing in podcast advertising, and people are earning more and more money from their podcast shows.

Furthermore, there’s been a dramatic increase in podcast ad revenue since 2015. Back then, it sat at a now relatively tiny $69 million! It almost doubled in 2016 to $119 million, and then more than doubled to $314 million in 2017.

Podcast ads are shown to improve purchase intent for many advertisers

As we mentioned, businesses are seeing first-hand how powerful advertising on podcasts can be. When brands advertise through various podcast categories, they see a boost in purchase intent from buyers. This means more people are visiting their websites and purchasing what’s been advertised. The breakdown is as follows:

  • 14% increase in purchase intent when advertising in Business podcasts
  • 12.8% increase in purchase intent when advertising in News & Politics podcasts
  • 9.3% increase in purchase intent when advertising in Sports podcasts
  • 9.2% increase in purchase intent when advertising in Society & Culture podcasts
  • 7.3% increase in purchase intent when advertising in Comedy podcasts

You just have to look at these figures to know that there’s lots of potential for you as a podcast owner. If you have a business show, then advertisers will be queuing up to tap into your audience and take advantage of your platform.


Learn how to monetize your podcast.

58% of all podcast ads are integrated into the show

Over half of all podcast advertisements are found in the shows themselves. This means that they have been edited in, almost as part of the content. The show owners are told what to say, and they can put their spin on things—as long as the main gist of the ad content is there.

This is believed to result in better experiences for the listener. They don’t have to deal with a typical radio-style ad, and they hear it from somebody they’ve grown to trust. As such, the chances of them being interested in the brand or product will increase as they hear about it from a source they rely on and respect. It almost feels more like a recommendation than an ad.

Podcasts tend to target the rich and educated

Two of the most interesting podcasts statistics revolve around audience education and income. Podcast listeners are 45% more likely to have a college degree than the regular population. They’re also 56% more likely to be undergraduates, and 68% more likely to be postgraduates.

These statistics show that podcasts are more geared toward people in higher education brackets. What’s more, the stats about income are equally shocking. Podcast listeners are 32% more likely to have over $75,000 annual income, and 45% more likely to have over $250,000 annual income.

In conclusion, we can safely say that podcast growth is on the rise. More podcasts are out there, and there are more episodes than ever before. Audiences are keen to listen to as many podcasts as they can, and the amount of shows people listen to per week has increased. Ad revenue continues to rise, and everything points toward a bright future for podcast owners. Of course, the only downside of all this growth is that you’ve got to double down and work extra hard to stand out and retain your audience.

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