For over 16 years, podcasts are one of the most innovative media services, and we love them because they give us the freedom to choose what we want to listen to, when, and where. Today, in 2021, podcast statistics are showing a bright future for this type of media, regardless of their content.
If you are trying to develop a podcast and wondering what your chances of success are, who is most likely to listen to it, and what themes are the most popular, you are in the right place. The essentials of who, what, when, and where of podcast impact is contained in these stats, so keep reading to find out everything.
Top 10 Key Podcast Statistics
- Podcasts were the 7th most used media service in 2019.
- There are over 850,000 active podcasts worldwide.
- More people are using their iPhones to listen to a podcast.
- 17% of US podcast users spent 10 hours or more on podcasts.
- Around 164 million podcast listeners are expected to tune in by 2024.
- In 2019, there were 3.6 million additional heavy podcast users.
- Women podcast listeners visit Apple podcasts twice as often as men.
- Spotify is the largest podcast platform in the world.
- Popular podcasts charge advertisers $10 to $50 for every 1,000 listeners.
- In March 2020, there were more than 27.5 million downloads registered for podcasts featuring “corona” or “COVID.”
Podcast Usage Statistics to Keep in Mind
If you’re starting a podcast, make sure to prepare accordingly. Although some people may indeed be more talented than others, being well informed goes a long way. Here is what you need to know about the trends and habits which rule the podcast world, the audience pool you will encounter, and how to make it work in your favor.
1. Podcast statistics reveal that podcasts were the 7th most used media service in 2019.
Nielsen podcast insights show that podcasts ranked in the top 10 of the most used service media in 2019, in the 7th place, with some 31% using it regularly in the US, right behind the music on hard copies that were used by 37% of the population. For comparison, the radio was reportedly used by 71% of the surveyed.
2. 13% of the weekly podcast listeners are newcomers.
13% of weekly podcast users in 2019 were newcomers, according to podcast statistics. They started listening to podcasts less than six months before the survey.
Following the Westwood One report, 29% of those were spending six hours or more listening to podcasts every week, and most of them were tuning into audio podcasts rather than TV and video streaming (33% vs. 28%).
Moreover, newcomers listened to 3.6 podcasts per week, as opposed to pioneers, who averaged 4.7 hours per week for the total numbers.
3. 21% of podcast listeners are listening to four or five podcasts per week, podcast download statistics confirm.
(Statista) (Westwood One)
In the podcast survey,17% of the 4,126 respondents older than 12 stated that they listened to three podcasts in a week, whereas 21% confirmed listening to four or five different podcasts.
A 2019 podcast audience study indicates that podcast pioneers – those using podcasts for four years or more, were responsible for 4.4 average podcast downloads per week, whereas those who started using podcasts in the six months before the survey counted 3.4 average podcast downloads weekly.
4. The most popular podcasts in the US in 2019 were those on lifestyle, news, and politics.
As per the 2019 Reuters podcasting statistics, 15% of podcast users are listening to news and politics, and the very same percentage are listening to lifestyle-related podcasts, including fashion, food, and others.
So, as per data on audiences and average podcast downloads, those are the most popular categories of podcasts in the US, followed by specialist podcasts that relate to industry, health, technology, etc. (14%).
Also, 12% of the US podcast audience in 2019 was listening to true crime and societal themes of podcasts. Sports were the least favorite podcast subject, attracting only 9% of the podcast audience.
5. 17% of US podcast users spent 10 hours or more on content listening, statistics on podcast weekly listeners confirm.
(Westwood One) (Statista)
Based on the results of the 2019 podcast audience study published by Westwood One, 8% of the US population that listens to podcasts spends more than six hours a week doing so.
Among these heavy podcast consumers, a staggering 48% are so-called podcast pioneers that have less than four years of podcast use behind them. 22% of the surveyed confirmed spending more than one hour per week on podcasts, whereas 17% of US podcast listeners in 2018 reported listening to 10 hours or more of podcasts per week.
6. Smartphone podcast listener statistics show that 91.5% of the time, they enjoy the podcast content on their own.
Most of the devices related to podcasts are used individually, by one person at a time.
In terms of shared podcast listening, the smart speaker has the highest advantage and use over other devices (21.3%). Nielsen podcast insights report shows that the tablet and laptop are used for podcasts with companies at 16.3% and 11.3%, respectively.
Also, more than 36 million Americans are accessing podcasting content via their smartphone, and they are sharing this experience 8.5% of the time.
7. More people are using their iPhones to listen to podcasts, Apple podcast stats reveal.
According to podcast audience research conducted by Westwood One, there is an 8% rise in the usage of iPhones for podcast playing in the 2017-2019 period.
Also, 53% of the survey respondents reported using iPhones for podcasts. In comparison, 38% of responders in the US were using Android phones, a 3% decrease since 2018. In-car audio systems and smart speakers noted a 17% increase in usage during the same period.
On the other hand, Android tablets, and iPads are increasingly abandoned for this purpose, with some 37% reduced use of Android tablets, and 54% of iPads.
Podcast Audience Statistics to Help You Reach Your Target
It’s all about reaching your target audience. But, let’s face it, it’s not always easy to do it. Here are some starts to help you start figuring things out.
8. South Koreans are the biggest podcast fans in the world.
With some 53% of the population enjoying podcasts at the beginning of 2019, the Reuters Institute for digital media put North Korea at the top of the world list of countries by podcast popularity.
Spain is second, with some 39% of internet users confirming that they listen to podcasts, followed by Ireland and Sweden, where the population listens to podcasts in shares of 37% and 35%, respectively. The US is in 4th place on this ranking list, with 35% of the surveyed claiming to be using podcasts regularly.
9. Podcast listeners statistics indicate the closing of the gender gap in audiences.
(Westwood One) (Reuters)
The newest podcast audience study shows that the gender gap is closing on the podcast public, with 57% of podcast newcomers being women.
According to Reuter’s digital news report, up until the beginning of 2019, 46% of the podcast listeners in the US were women, and 54% were men. But, ever since July 2017, there’s been a 23% increase in the weekly time spent on podcasts by women listeners, as figures of podcast growth in 2019 suggest.
10. Apple podcast statistics suggest that women listeners visit Apple podcasts twice as often as men.
Following the results from the Westwood One survey conducted in 2019, 36% of women who listened to podcasts every week consulted Apple podcasts, whereas only 17% of the men did the same.
The highest interests for women held the drama and storytelling category of podcasts, which were visited by more than half of them (51%). In comparison, only 33% of men were listening to podcasts from this category.
11. Podcast demographics in 2019 included only 19% of the Americans that were 55 years and older.
Podcast data in the US show that more than half of the population in the age groups 18-24 and 25-34 are listening to podcasts, whereas 41% of those aged 35-44, and 30% of those 45-54 can be considered a part of the podcast audience.
Besides participation, the reasons for using podcasts also differed across generations. Those younger than 35 were more likely to listen to podcasts for entertainment, while those older than 35 preferred to be updated and learn something.
Podcast Projections and Developments
Podcasts have been around for a very long time, so it’s legit to question how relevant it is in 2021. However, it seems that podcasts are here to stay, especially now that most of us spend our time staying at home. Podcasts proved to be a great way to stay safe and learn new things and educate yourself.
12. More than half of Americans were listening to podcasts in 2019.
(Statista) (Pew Research Center)
Podcast stats for 2019 show that 51% of Americans were listening to podcasts during that year. The by-year statistics also show a rise in frequency of podcast use, with some 32% listening to podcasts in the month before the survey, and 22% listening to podcasts during the week before.
13. Around 164 million podcast listeners are expected to tune in by 2024.
The reported number of podcast listeners in the US for 2018 was estimated at 75 million, out of which an estimated 62 million tuned in weekly.
The number of Americans that are listening to podcasts grows each week, with the projected podcast growth for 2019 until the 2023 period of 17%.
14. Podcast statistics for 2019 suggest the existence of over 850,000 active podcasts worldwide.
An article published in Forbes states that there are currently over 54 million podcast episodes available around the globe, covering a wide range of topics.
The possibility of profits from advertising put in these podcasts, with relatively low investment costs, pushed the launching of over 192,000 new podcasts in 2019, which is a record number.
15. National Public Radio applications registered, on average, 7.1 million new user downloads, podcast statistics for 2018 show.
(Pew Research Center)
The unique weekly NPR podcast applications download, which includes applications popular in the iTunes library, increased from 5.4 million in 2017 to 7.1 million in 2018, as per official data from the National Public Radio for 2018.
For comparison, in 2015, the mean number of unique NPR downloads was 2.5 million, almost a threefold increase for just four years.
Public Radio International (PRI), on the other hand, reported almost two times lower numbers of unique users since 2017, with approximately 500,000 new downloads reported per month until the spring of 2018 when they merged with PRX.
16. The share of American podcast listeners marked the biggest increase between 2018 and 2019, podcast stats reveal.
(Pew Research Center)
The so-called Podcast listenership figures for the US audience older than 12 years show that the share of podcast listeners grew by an average of 3.1 percentage points each year since 2010.
For example, in 2015, 33% of Americans used podcasts during the year, whereas in 2016, this percentage was 36%.
The biggest leap in popularity was registered between 2018 and 2019. What’s more, the share of people who used podcasts on a monthly and weekly basis was also up by record numbers for this time interval, 26% vs. 32%, and 17% vs. 22%, respectively.
17. In 2019, there were 3.6 million additional heavy podcast users in comparison with podcast statistics for 2018.
The number of podcast listeners that connect every day has grown enormously, along with their average number of episodes watched per week, which according to the Nielsen report for podcast growth in 2019, increased by 10%. The Nielsen podcast insights report shows that the overall audience grows by an average increase rate of 20% each year.
The favorite time for heavy podcast listeners to tune in is when they are away from home. Commuting and other types of traveling were shown to be the most popular time to listen to a podcast, as confirmed by travel statistics. Another favorite place for heavy users to keep up with their podcasts, according to exercise statistics, is the gym.
18. Podcast download statistics for 2020 expose more than 27.5 million downloads around the globe for podcasts featuring “corona,” or “COVID.”
Podnews reveal that there has been a podcast boom in downloads and record audience numbers for coronavirus outbreak-covering podcasts.
Until mid-March, there were more than 1,400 podcast episodes related to coronavirus that was downloaded more than 27.5 million times. Furthermore, Acast registered a record 370% increase in the number of listening in just 18 days from March 1 until March 18.
Amidst the pandemic, the podcast platform marks an upward trend in comparison with others like travel and dating platforms that are noticing decreases, as marked in Tinder statistics.
19. The number of podcast listeners increased by 8% in March due to the coronavirus outbreak, monthly podcast statistics for 2020 reveal.
The pandemic outbreak of coronavirus boosted the general podcast audiences by 8% only in one month, but there were big generational differences in these figures.
Namely, 31% of Gen Z-ers increased their listening of podcasts, marking the most significant cross-generational audience growth. 26% more millennials were listening to podcasts by the end of March 2020, whereas 9% stated being less interested in podcasts during the same period. Gen X-ers and baby boomers did not express significantly greater interest in podcasts in March 2020.
20. Spotify is the largest podcast platform in the world, Spotify podcast stats confirm.
Subscriber stats show that Apple, with the launching of Apple Music, is the most popular streaming platform in the US, counting some 60 million subscribers in 2019.
However, as the global market is Android-oriented, Spotify has the upper hand and the first place in the podcast platform list worldwide, counting 113 million subscribers, and a staggering 248 million monthly active users in 2019.
21. Popular podcasts charge advertisers $10 to $50 for every 1,000 listeners, B2B podcast stats suggest.
(Forbes) (NY Times)
The advertising rate for podcast ads is 2-3 times higher than the rate for broadcast radio, explaining their success. Following the data from the Internet Advertising Bureau (IAB) for 2018, the podcast Ad revenue reached $479.1 million, and projections claimed over $1 billion in ad revenue by 2021.
However, the latest reports on marketing trends reveal that the coronavirus outbreak resulted in a 38% drop in spending on digital marketing in the US, with a 45% lower spending on radio marketing for the period from March to April.
Are podcasts growing in popularity?
Podcasts are growing in popularity, with the number of users rising by an annual average rate of 20%. In the US, the Nielsen podcast insights state that the number of daily users grew by over 3.6 million in a year.
How can you tell how many listeners a podcast has?
The general estimations on the popularity of a podcast are being built around the number of downloads, subscribers to the podcast, or the number of clicks on the play button of the embedded online players.
Some platforms also use audience tracking software that sorts out different IP addresses and tracks devices that are used.
How many downloads are a successful podcast?
A successful podcast needs to surpass 3,400 downloads in the first 30 days to be ranked in the top 10%. Any podcast having between 9,000 and 50,000 downloads gets ranked in the top 5%. Above 50,000 downloads in the first 30 days of airing per episode will rank the podcast in the top 1%.
Whether you are bored, doing tedious house chores, or commuting often, podcasts open the world of knowledge, entertainment, and information, and they put you in command.
Especially in difficult times like lockdowns, podcasts can be a life-saver, and both marketers and audiences seem to understand this. For those trying to develop their own in 2021, these podcast statistics confirm that this is the right way to go, in terms of both investments and the audience.