Despite only being highly popularized in the most recent decade, the beginnings of podcasts as a medium can be traced back to 2000, when French entrepreneur Tristan Louis suggested adding video and audio data to the RSS feeds.
The name wasn’t even coined until 2004—journalist Ben Hammersley proposed podcasting, as a combination of iPod and broadcasting.
But how has the medium changed from then to 2021? Podcast statistics indicate that, although named after Apple’s popular device, Spotify has taken over the reins as the most popular app for the majority of users.
Read on to find out just how influential podcasts are becoming in the advertising world and broader.
- Out of all podcasts, only 60.65% are reportedly active.
- An average of 68 million Americans tuned into podcasts weekly in 2020.
- Spotify is the most popular platform, with 25% of Americans tuning in from the app.
- In Canada, 43% of the audience consume podcasts through YouTube.
- 48% of all listeners in the US are 34 or younger.
- The Joe Rogan Experience podcast earned $30 million in revenue in 2020.
- 36% of Americans listen to podcasts at work.
The figures around the podcast industry have constantly been shifting throughout the last few years. The medium became more and more widespread among audiences across the world, especially in the US.
1. There are over 1,750,000 active podcasts at the moment.
Apple reported this number to be around 550,000 in 2018, indicating significant growth in just two years.
The number of episodes shows similar podcast growth trends: there are currently 43 million episodes, compared to 18.5 million in 2018.
2. Podcasts are available in over 100 languages.
Global podcast statistics show that podcasts aren’t just popular with English speakers. You can find them in over 100 languages, and they cater to a large, diverse audience.
Interestingly, South Korea led the way in percentage of the population listening to podcasts last month, with 58% of citizens tuning into their favorite shows.
3. Only 60.65% of all podcasts are active.
To get to objective podcast facts and figures, an active podcast was considered the one that has published at least one episode in the last three months—conversely, inactive podcasts haven’t published 90 days back.
This means that those podcasts aren’t necessarily canceled but might have an irregular publishing schedule or are on hiatus.
4. Around 212 million Americans said they were familiar with podcasting.
Podcasts stats show 75% of the population have learned about podcasts—either through a conversation, or they’re active listeners.
The number had grown significantly since 2006 when only 22% of US citizens knew of podcasts. The next year, podcasting popularity had its most notable increase, with 15% more people learning about it.
5. 55% of Americans have listened to a podcast.
An estimated 155 million people in the US have listened to at least one podcast by the end of 2020.
Just 14 years ago, only 11% of Americans stated they’ve listened to a podcast at some point in their lives. The number has grown by almost 20% in the last five years alone.
6. Podcast listener numbers show 28% of adults tuning in from their car in 2020.
While AM/FM radio is Americans’ favorite option while driving, podcasts have been gaining popularity over the last few years—in 2018, 5% fewer people stated they listen to podcasts during a ride, with 26% of listeners opting for this form of audio sourcing in 2019.
7. An average number of weekly podcast listeners in 2020 was 68 million people.
This means that 24% of the population tuned in the week the survey was conducted. It marks a 2% growth from 2019.
The biggest surge in recent history happened from 2018 through 2019 when the audience increased from 17% to 22%.
Apple Podcasts, Spotify, Amazon—there is no lack of podcasting platforms at the moment. But which app do most listeners turn to? Let’s find out.
8. Spotify reported there are over 1.9 million podcast titles on the platform.
The Joe Rogan Experience was the number one among the most listened-to podcasts on Spotify in 2020. TED Talks Daily and The Daily were numbers two and three, with Michelle Obama’s new podcast coming in fourth.
Society & Culture was the most popular podcast category last year.
9. Spotify has over 288 million listeners.
Spotify’s podcast audience size also reaches across 92 marketplaces worldwide. The platform has also reported their audience has nearly doubled throughout 2019.
It’s also accessible from a vast array of devices, such as smart speakers, gaming consoles, wearables, and car audio.
10. Spotify is the most popular podcast platform in the US.
Spotify has overtaken Apple Podcasts as the Americans’ leading podcast listening app. With 25% of listeners opting for the Swedish company, the platform saw a 6% growth YoY in 2020.
Interestingly, Apple Podcasts’ audience has dropped by one percent over the same period.
11. Apple Podcast announced a 50 million episode downloads milestone in 2018, according to their statistics.
This marks an astonishing increase in downloads YoY—in 2017, the number was only 13.7 billion. If we go back even further, the number of downloads in 2014 was almost half of that in 2017, at only 7 billion downloads.
12. 43% of Canadians consume podcasts through an unlikely platform—YouTube.
YouTube demographics indicate it was the most popular platform for podcast audience in Canada, ahead of Apple Podcasts (34%) and Spotify (23%).
One of the most-watched podcasts is H3 Productions, accumulating over 208 million views and six million subscribers. Interestingly, their secondary channel—H3 Podcast—has over 388 million views, with two million subscribers.
13. Smartphones are the most popular devices for podcast listeners.
If we know that PC and desktop devices have seen a steady decline in use, this comes as no surprise.
In China alone, an incredible 98.8% of people listen to podcasts through their smartphones, while 21.4% do so via computers or laptops. Only 13.7% use tablets.
The industry growth is in direct correlation to the increased interest of the audience globally. This is how we have more people than ever tuning in daily to their favorite shows. But what is the target demographic for advertisers, according to the latest podcast trends?
14. One–third of millennials in the US listen to podcasts every day.
Around 60% of that age group pay for one of the streaming platforms. However, they are not the streaming services’ biggest consumers, —75% of Generation Z have paid subscriptions to their favorite media.
Interestingly, 68% of podcast listeners strongly believe that podcasts are intellectually beneficial to them.
15. 51% of monthly podcast listeners are men, podcast audience statistics suggest.
The gender ratio among podcasts listeners has been consistently balanced.
When it comes to Americans, 39% of men have listened to podcasts in January–February 2020. A slightly lower percentage among women tuned in over the same period—36%.
16. Podcasts demographics indicate that 48% of all podcasts listeners in the US are of the age 12–34.
Americans aged 35–54 make 32% of the consumers, with those in the age group of 55 and over being the least likely to tune into a podcast (20%).
If we know that those aged 12–34 are, at the same time, the largest demographic in the US at the moment (37% of the population), it’s obvious that younger people enjoy this sort of entertainment the most.
17. Statistics show that white people make up 63% of the podcast audience.
Caucasians make 58% of all the US population, so it comes as no surprise that they dominate among the listeners.
African-Americans and Hispanics make 11% of all consumers in the US each. Only 5% of Asians tune in to podcasts, with 9% of the survey respondents identifying as Others did the same.
Figures clearly show that podcasts are rising in popularity among the US audience—but what type of content do Americans enjoy the most? Let’s take a look at some viewership numbers to find the answers.
18. The Joe Rogan Experience is the highest-earning podcast in the world, statistics indicate.
The comedian and former UFC commentator was a celebrity even before his podcast skyrocketed in the last few years.
Joe Rogan reportedly earned $30 million over a one–year period, with his podcast being downloaded as many as 190 million times per month, making it number one among top-earning podcasts.
19. Comedy is the favorite genre for 22% of the US podcast audience.
Close second choice for American listeners is podcasting shows from the News category, as 21% stated they tune in to learn about the latest events.
True Crime is a long-time favorite topic of podcast listeners across the US—18% of people love to spend time listening to their favorite crime episodes.
20. 82.4% of avid listeners listen for more than 7 hours weekly.
The vast majority of avid listeners tune in to podcasts for more than 7 hours in a week.
What’s more—podcast listener statistics show that users listen to around seven shows every day of the week.
21. Consumers spent well-over six hours weekly, on average, listening to podcasts in 2020.
The exact number is 6:39—a 10–minute increase from the previous year.
An overview of the last five years tells us that 2016 was when consumers tuned in the least—only slightly over four hours per week.
22. A podcast episode that gets 136 downloads in the first 30 days can be considered successful.
The latest podcast download statistics indicate that 136 downloads in the first month put a show in the top 50% of all podcasts.
When it comes to the top 1% of podcasts, the episodes get 36,000 downloads on average during the same period.
With more Americans—and the rest of the world, for that matter—than ever enjoying their favorite podcast episodes daily, this medium’s marketing power is a field to be explored for all business owners.
23. The average podcast sponsorship rates are $18 for a 30–second ad CPM, and $25 for a 60–second ad CPM.
Cost-per-mille means that the $18 and $25 sums are paid per one thousand listeners.
It’s important to note that these are only averages—the prices vary greatly, depending on the podcast popularity, hosts’ celebrity power, as well as authenticity.
24. Podcasting advertising revenue was close to one billion dollars in 2020.
This shows a near 15% increase, despite the pandemic—however, the statistics projected a podcast growth of 29.6% for 2020.
According to the same report, brands who make podcasts part of their advertising strategy have nearly doubled—47%.
25. 55.6% purchase an item after hearing advertisements on a podcast.
Podcasting statistics show that audio marketing has a significant effect on listeners. They tend to purchase products after hearing about them on a podcast—and today more than ever.
A year earlier, 48.8% of survey respondents reportedly bought a product/service promoted on a podcast.
26. 59% of listeners prefer podcasts over other social media.
Podcast listening is now becoming an avid habit for many people. They can listen to them while working, driving, or doing chores.
Even more listeners—66%—rather tune into podcasts than watch TV.
27. 39% of all podcast users are small and medium-sized business owners.
Podcast listener numbers show that around 65% of consumers who own small or medium businesses tune into shows on a weekly basis.
As the company size increases, so does the percentage of owners that are likely to listen to podcasts—70–72% for businesses with 100–500 employees.
28. 55% of podcast listeners pay attention to advertisements.
One area where podcasts win the debate against YouTube is when it comes to ads. Podcast listeners don’t skip the ads.
Over half of listeners pay attention to podcast ads since they are seamlessly integrated by the host into the program.
Podcasting on YouTube has also become really popular, with The Joe Rogan Experience and The H3 Podcast being the most popular podcasts on the platform.
Not convinced to tune in?
Read on to find out more facts and figures about podcasts—not just from the comfort of your home, but all the way to the coasts of Australia.
29. 36% of Americans listen to podcasts at work, the latest podcast trends indicate.
While over one–third of podcast listeners in the US tune in while at work. This marks an 11 percentage points increase in comparison to the previous year.
Moreover—just two years ago, in 2018, only 12% of the audience listened to their favorite podcasts during working hours.
30. The average podcast length was 41 minutes and 31 seconds in 2019.
Podcast length statistics show that most podcast episodes are just shy of three-quarters of an hour long. Listening statistics show that user interest is low if this limit is surpassed, and many will speed it up to shorten the length.
Interestingly, the average length is two minutes shorter than in 2018.
31. The best day to publish a podcast is Wednesday.
Podcast industry experts have found that—according to statistics—the weekdays are a more recommendable choice when it comes to publishing podcasts.
On weekends, the number of downloaded podcasts is the lowest ever.
32. One–third of people in Australia listen to podcasts.
Per podcast statistics, growth of the audience has been steady in Australia—32% of news consumers reported tuning into their favorite shows, which marks a five percentage points YoY increase.
The number is still lower than that of the global scale in 2020, which stands at 41%.
Podcasting’s marketing potential has never been more pronounced. What makes the medium superior to other forms of placed advertisements is its seamless insertion into the episodes—more importantly, the audience hears it from a source they consider credible.
Whether you want to promote your business through a prominent podcaster’s show, or maybe even undertake the industry yourself, the numbers show a clear picture—podcasts mustn’t be ignored.
After being acquired by Spotify in September 2020, The Joe Rogan Experience still ended the year as the most popular podcast on the platform by far.
It’s almost the highest-earning podcast of the year, with the total revenue reaching $30 million. This is especially impressive considering it’s been Spotify-exclusive in the last quarter of 2020.
An average American consumer listens to an average of seven different shows per week. This marks a significant growth since 2017, when people tuned in five shows every week. Of course, this is hardly surprising, given the state in which the world was left by the pandemic and lockdowns.
According to the latest available data, there are currently over 850,000 active podcasts (1,750,000 in total) in the world. Those podcasts have produced over 33 million episodes of your favorite shows, combined. Only two years prior, there were only half a billion episodes, making this an exceptional upwards trend in the industry.
If a podcast manages around 10,000 downloads per episode, you can, objectively, expect to earn anywhere from $500–$900 per episode in affiliate sales.
The amount of money a show can earn depends heavily on the number of downloads, as well as its advertising rates.
On average, listening to an hour-long podcast will cost you about 60 MB of mobile data. This means that most podcasts take up one MB per minute. The mobile data use, of course, varies. It depends on multiple factors—most important of those being the quality in which the podcasts are encoded.
While 212 million people—or 75% of the population—in America is familiar with podcasts, only 55% have ever listened to a single episode.
An estimated 104 million Americans (37%) listen to podcasts on a monthly basis.
Acquiring 136 downloads of a podcast episode in the first month of its publishing puts a show in the top 50% of podcasts.
Around 7,700 downloads will get you a place among the best 5% of shows in the world. However, if you want to find yourself among the elite 1% podcasters, you have to work towards 36,000 downloads in the first 30 days.
The podcasting industry was reported to be worth $9.28 billion in 2019, which is the latest data we have on this. The same report projected the number to reach $11.07 in 2020.
Podcast statistics projected the growth rate in the period of 2020–2027 is an astonishing 27.5%—meaning it is projected to reach $60.50 billion worth.
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