23 Podcast Growth Statistics: What It Means For Your Business

social-promotion-featured January 14th, 2020 Posted by Marketing No Comment yet

If you work in the marketing world there is no way you have been able to escape the constant conversation around podcasting. Even if you don’t directly contribute to your company’s marketing efforts, by now you have probably realized just how often podcasts are utilized for businesses

Simply put: Podcasts have added an innovative way to reach a variety of people. 

At this point, there’s a show about virtually everything, and listeners can learn about their favorite subjects from experts all across the world without ever having to leave their house.


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Whether you like it or not, podcasts are here to stay. Below, we’ve gathered together 24 statistics that explore the monumental growth that podcasting has experienced in recent years, and offer insights into how you can leverage podcasting for your business.

Are podcasts growing? 

Short answer, yes. We discuss statistics we think have been most influential to the growth of the podcast industry. Below you will get insight into listener and subscriber growth, ad spend, audio consumption, age breakdown, and more.

1. The number of podcast listeners in the U.S. is projected to double from 2019 to 2023. (Source)

The number of podcast listeners is projected to double from 2019 to 2023, jumping from roughly 88 million to 164 million. This will be a considerable jump from just the mear 46 million monthly listeners back in 2015. 

2. The average podcast listener in 2019 subscribed to between 4 and 5 podcasts. (Source)

average podcast subscriptions

Roughly 21% of podcast listeners are subscribed to four or five podcasts at a time, while 14% are subscribed to eleven or more! This shows that podcast listeners are usually consuming information from multiple different sources and voices to get a larger perspective. 

Frequency of Consumption 

3. 70% Of U.S consumers are aware of the term podcasting. (Source)

The term “podcasting” was something new for many consumers not even a decade ago, but is now a widely-known term. Only ~45% of consumers knew about the term from 2009-2015, since then, it has steadily grown year-over-year to 70%. 

4. 51% of U.S. consumers have listened to audio podcasts in 2019. (Source)

Similarly to the awareness of the world of podcasting, the listeners of podcasts have steadily increased since 2014. Podcast listeners have grown 20% from 2014 to 2019. 

5. 32% of the U.S. population have listened to a podcast in the last month. (Source)

U.S. population who have listened to podcast in the last month

While subscribers are an important part of any successful podcast, listeners are just as important. 32% of the U.S. population has listened to a podcast episode in the last month. This is almost 10% higher than the average in 2017. 

6. 22% of the U.S. population have listened to a podcast in the past week. (Source)

Weekly podcast consumption shows a dedicated listener who is coming back week after week. 22% of podcast listeners in 2019 were coming back week after week which, is 5% higher than the year before. 

Listener Behavior & Motivations

7. 21% of podcast listeners consume episodes in the afternoon. (Source)

The average podcast listener is consuming content in the afternoon with an additional 38% of listeners consuming episodes in the evening time. This is important for any podcast producers because you can use this information when scheduling your newest episodes to go live. 

8. 74% of Listeners say they want to learn new things. (Source)

The top three reasons podcast listeners tune into their favorite shows is to learn new things, to be entertained, and to stay up to date with the latest topics. The need to relax, feel inspired, and companionship fall to the bottom of the list.9. 90% of podcast listeners say they like to listen at home. (Source)

9. 90% of podcast listeners say they like to listen at home. (Source)

podcast consumption location

One of the best things about podcasts is that they can be consumed just about anywhere. Roughly 90% of podcast listeners say that one of their favorite spots to listen to their favorite shows is in their home. Following right behind listening at home, is listening on the go in their vehicle. 

Listener Preferences

10. Most podcast listeners don’t mind show ads. (Source)

Almost 70% of podcast listeners don’t mind in-show ads if it means their favorite shows can continue to produce episodes. Hosts can make ads fun and engaging to prevent listeners from skipping through.  

11. 58% of podcast listeners never turn to podcasts to consume news content. (Source)

While news consumes a lot of the media channels on tv, radio, and news websites, it isn’t a popular format for podcasting. Breaking news is constantly being posted or talked about on tv or the internet. It’s hard to create a podcast show about breaking news and talk about it while it’s still relevant. 

Listener Demographics

12. People ages 12-24 are the most frequent podcast listeners from 2017-2019. (Source)

Podcast listeners from ages 12-24 grew 13% from 2017-2019 reaching 40% of all listeners. Surprisingly, 39% of podcast listeners also fall in the age group of 25-54 years of age. Listeners who are 55 years or older are still a little behind the curve and only account for 17% of all listeners. 

13. Male podcast listeners account for 54% of all content consumption in 2019 (Source)

Men and women almost have an even split of total podcast content consumption when looking at the data through a global lens. When looking specifically at the U.S. population, women account for 51% of consumption.

14. 66% of podcast listeners are white. (Source)

When breaking down monthly listeners by ethnicity, White accounts for 66%. White is followed by African-America 11%, Hispanic 9%, and Asian 4%. 

15. 23% of podcast listeners or watchers come from a high income household. (Source)

While the majority of podcast fans listen to their content, more and more shows are incorporating a video component. 23% of podcast listeners or watchers come from a high-income household and listeners from a median household income trail right behind at 18.33%

Listener Discoverability & Consumption

16. 65% of listeners consume content on a portable device. (Source)

Not surprisingly, most people, 65%, are listening or watching their favorite shows on their phone, tablet, or other portable devices. Listening on a computer only accounts for 25% of all listener’s preferred devices. 

17. Word-of-mouth lead to higher podcast consumption. (Source)

When looking at podcast listening trends, we can see that podcast consumption lifted in 2017 due to recommendations and word-of-mouth. Another key aspect of increased listeners was the ability to find and use podcast listening apps. 

18. 60% of listeners discovered new podcasts through social media. (Source)

podcast discovery

Over half of respondents say they discover new podcasts through social media, 57% percent said word-of-mouth and 53% from other podcasts. Interestingly, 42% said they also find other shows from podcasting apps and software platforms. In the future, this number will likely increase as AI and algorithms improve. 

19. Podcast listeners use 28% of their time consuming podcasts rather than other forms of audio. (Source)

Podcasts top the audio charts among regular listeners, with radio right behind with 24%. Streaming audio like Apple Music, Spotify, and others are shockingly in third place with only 15%

20. NPR is the leading podcast publisher with 23.75 Million unique monthly listeners. (Source)

NPR has a huge listener base but is almost neck-and-neck with iHeartRadio who has 23.32 million unique monthly listeners. Others who made the top 5 include Wondery, New York Times, and PRX. 

21. NPR has 168.63 unique streams and downloads in October of 2019. (Source)

NPR tops the charts once again with 168 million streams and downloads in October of 2019. Others in the top five include iHeartRadio, PRX, New York Times, and Wondery. 

22. Apple is the preferred podcast provider among adults in the U.S. (Source)

Apple has been the leader in the podcast world for a while with Spotify playing catch up. A little over 30% of people prefer Spotify while 40% like Apple Podcasts. Spotify has acquired a few companies over the years and has seen a continuous increase in the number of podcast listeners on their platform. 23. Podcast ad spend increased by 200 million from 2018-2019. (Source)

23. Podcast ad spend increased by 200 million from 2018-2019. (Source)

podcast ad spend

With podcasts on the rise and reaching more and more people, advertisers have been paying close attention to this new way of reaching people. Podcast ad spend is projected to be around 860 million in 2020. 

Start Your Own Show

Podcast growth has increased year over year and there is no better time to get involved and start your own show. You might have a great idea for a show but might not have the best idea of where to start. If that’s the case, we can help you! Technical set up, hosting, RSS feed submissions, and costs can be confusing. Let us take care of all that so you can get started on your very own podcast.

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