Podcast Statistics 2021 – How Many Podcasts Are There?
Podcasts continue to grow rapidly all around the world. Podcast statistics and reports show that this medium is exploding in many countries with more and more listeners each year.
Podcast stats can tell more about how modern consumers are behaving and how they interact with audio content. All this information can help marketers understand when and how to use podcasts to their advantage.
At the same time, in marketing, it’s always important to know the current trends. Podcasts are becoming a major player in marketing games.
Naturally, all smart marketers and businesses will try to make the most out of any new channel that is coming up. Not only are the consumers more open to podcasts, but businesses and entrepreneurs alike are starting to realize how much potential they have for marketing. Keep in mind that it’s pretty straightforward to start a podcast.
We’ve done all the hard work to gather all the latest podcast statistics and put them in a single post. If you want to learn more about podcasting and who uses podcasts, you’ve come to the right place.
Interesting Podcast Statistics
- There are more than 1 million unique individual podcasts
- Around 78.9 million people in the US will watch podcasts
- 104 million people listen to podcasts in the US monthly
- 66% of consumers today prefer podcasts over TV
- Apple Podcasts platform collect 800,000+ podcast shows
- Mobile devices (65%) are the most preferred device for podcasts
- 79.8% of people listen to podcasts while commuting
- 65% of podcasts are listened to on a mobile device
- Ad revenue from podcasts is forecasted to exceed $1 billion in 2021
- The Joe Rogan Experience estimated earnings are $30 million annually
General statistics and facts
We’ll start off with some general statistics about podcasts. They can help you understand just how big they’ve grown and how many people around the world listen to podcasts online. These stats are focused on the number of people familiar with podcasting, podcast listeners’ statistics, and similar numbers.
1. There are more than 1 million unique individual podcasts.
This number alone shows podcast growth. Of course, not all of them are successful. There are also around 66 million podcast episodes online, and over 500k shows are in Apple Podcast.
Simply put, this means that over 50% of all podcast shows use Apple Podcast. This shows that the platform is the most popular choice for podcasters. Google’s crawler that indexes content has found over 2 million different shows.
Even though these numbers aren’t completely accurate, they indicate just how much this type of medium has actually grown. Podcast content is growing each year, and this trend isn’t going to stop anytime soon.
2. There are over 48 million podcast episodes out there.
Thanks to the growing popularity of podcasts, this number keeps increasing rapidly. In April 2021, the number of podcast episodes hit a whopping 48 million. That’s nearly 30 million more than in April 2018.
3. There are an estimated 104 million monthly podcast listeners in the US.
Edison Research has concluded that there are around 104 million podcast listeners in the US. Their podcast study also shows that 212 million Americans have heard about podcasts, while 155 million of them listened to a podcast at least once in their lifetime.
According to Statista, there are 86 million podcast listeners in the US, while eMarketer’s findings show 78.9 million consumers. The true number is probably somewhere in the middle. However, what’s certain is that these numbers will grow in the future.
Statista’s projections show 132 million listeners by 2022, while eMarketer’s numbers show a 20% increase of listeners over a 4-year period.
4. In 2020, 75% of Americans were familiar with podcasting.
Familiarity is a very important thing, even though it actually doesn’t mean that those people are consuming podcasts. However, for a medium to become mainstream, it needs to become globally-known as this sparks curiosity and makes people want to try it out.
In 2006, just 22% of people over 12 heard about podcasts. In 2020 this number has risen to 75%, which is 2012 million people. Furthermore, 55% of US citizens have listened to at least one podcast in 2020. In 2012 this number was only 11%.
Not only that, people are getting more familiar with the podcast, but more of them are starting to consume this type of content.
5. 73% of US consumers find podcasts through internet searches.
According to Slideshare, popular ways people find podcasts include social media (67%), referrals (66%), podcast recommendations (62%), advertisements (54%), and so on. Simply put, people find podcasts in many different ways, and there isn’t a single channel they rely on to find fresh content.
On the other hand, Discoverpods has discovered that 80% of consumers find podcasts through cross-promotion. The second most popular way is through recommendations from other people (72%) and social media (56%).
Even though people find podcasts in different ways, 72.8% of them agree that finding new shows is the biggest challenge. The two other biggest issues, according to listeners, are lack of awareness (49%) and low-quality content (32.9%).
6. 37.6% of podcasters are active 3+ years.
32.3% of podcasters are active with their work for around 1–3 years, 12.9% of them have been active 6 months to 1 year, and 17.2% are true beginners with less than 6 months of work.
7. 97.7% of podcasters agree that quality content is essential.
Quality content is essential to 97.7% of podcasters, 96.5% of them cherish engaging listeners, and 89.7% of them know that publishing content regularly is important.
As an advertiser, you want to know how many people listen to podcasts. However, this information won’t do you any good if you don’t know which people listen to which kinds of shows. To produce a successful podcast, you need to know the listener demographics.
After all, not all series are made for the same audience. There is always segmentation, no matter what kind of medium we are talking about. When you know who your audience is, you will find it easier to create content that they will like.
So let’s see what the statistics say.
8. 48% of podcast listeners in the US are aged 12 to 34.
Based on the age of podcast listeners in the US, 48% of them are 12-34, 32% are 35-54 years old, and 20% are over 55 years old. When it comes to genders, listeners are evenly distributed in the US. 51% of them are male, and 49% are female.
The ethnicity of podcast listeners statistics in the US is 63% white, 11% African-American, 11% Hispanic, 5% Asian, and 10% other.
9. As of 2020, 39% of the men and 36% of women listen to podcasts monthly.
The popularity of podcasts growing for both genders (out of the whole US population). Compared to 2017 where 27% of men and 21% of women did so on a monthly basis.
10. 57% of the US population has tuned in to at least one podcast.
That’s up 2% from 2020. In just one year, 10 million more Americans have become familiar with podcasts. Roughly 222 million US citizens (78%) know what podcasts are, which is a 4.72% increase from 2020.
11. 28% of monthly podcast consumers in the US have an advanced degree.
27% of monthly listeners have some college education, 25% of them have a 4-year college, and 20% of them have a high school diploma or lower education.
12. 51% of monthly podcast consumers over 18 years old are employed full-time.
In the US, the same demographic takes 44% of all monthly consumers. 17% of monthly listeners globally are employed part-time while 12% are in the US.
How people consume podcasts
Podcast creators need to know how their content is used throughout a different spectrum of platforms and situations. All this information can help us understand the whole podcasting industry. At the same time, you can learn the main driving factors for podcast consumption.
Knowing how people listen to podcasts online can help you provide a better podcasting experience, but also learn what audiences like or dislike, and what will matter in the future.
13. 79% of people listen to podcasts while commuting.
Other most popular choices for listening to podcasts are during free time (58.9%) and while doing housework (69.3%).
14. 66% of people prefer listening to podcasts over watching TV.
Podcasts are consumed more than TV (66%), Social Media (59%), and books (75%).
15. Estimated 64 million of the total US population age 12+ listen to podcasts weekly in 2020.
The average time spent people in the US spend listening to podcasts per week is 6:39. At the same time, listeners consumed an average of 7 podcasts per week. However, not all of them listen to the same frequency.
16% of listeners only listen to a single podcast per week. 15% of them listen to two podcasts during the week. 17% listen 3, 21% listen 4-5, 17% listen 6-10, and 14% consume 11+ podcasts per week.
16. In 2019, 48.4% of people said that they listen to podcasts more than the year before.
This podcasting research shows that people gradually increase the number of podcasts they listen to. 45.6% of users say they listen to them in the same way as the year before, while only 6% said they listened less.
17. Devoted fans listen to an average of 8 podcasts per week.
This average number isn’t written in stone. About 1-3 podcasts per week is the sweet spot for 40% of podcast listeners, while 19% of die-hard fans listen to at least 11 podcasts every week.
18. 40% of podcast listeners discover new podcasts on their listening app.
Listening apps’ directories are the go-to podcast discovery source for most listeners. Other folks ask someone they know for recommendations (18.3%), turn to social media (15.2%), search on Google (13.6%), or search through podcast charts (13%).
19. 39% of US podcast listeners are most interested in music topic.
Some of the other most popular topics are news 36%, entertainment/pop culture 32%, history & sports 31%, food 30%, mystery 28%, technology 28%, crime based on true stories 28%, self-improvement 27%, and science 26%.
20. 29% of podcast listeners in the US have been listening to podcasts for 1 to 3 years.
Out of monthly podcast consumers, 30% of people have also been listening to podcasts for 1 to 3 years. The numbers are the same for weekly podcast fans.
21. 52% of US podcast consumers listen to whole podcasts.
Just over half of podcast users (52%) listen to whole podcasts. 41% of them listen to the majority of shows on average, 5% of them say that they often listen to less than half of an episode, and 2% of people quit podcasts at the start.
A lot of people download podcasts to listen to or watch them later. 58% of those people who download podcasts say that they usually (76-100% of the time) listen to these episodes. 20% of people that downloaded podcasts listened to 51-75% of the content they downloaded.
15% of consumers listen to 25-50% of downloaded content, and 7% only listen to around 1-25% of the shows. Most downloaded podcasts are downloaded and consumed within a day after being aired (47%). 31% is consumed within 48 hours, 19% in a week’s time, and 3% after more than a week has passed.
22. Survey shows that 45% of US listeners over 12 years of age, speed up their podcasts.
A phone survey from 2018 showed that 19% of people sometimes speed up their podcasts. On the other hand, an online survey from 2019 showed that 26% of people do so. Bear in mind that this doesn’t mean all the time, but sometimes.
23. 74% of people listen to podcasts to learn new things.
The biggest motivation for listening to podcasts is learning. The highest number of listeners agree that they listen to podcasts to learn something new (74%).
The same survey by Slideshare shows that 71% of users say podcasts are entertaining, 60% like them because they can get updated on topics that matter to them, 51% find them relaxing, 47% look for inspiration in podcasts, and 37% like podcasts because they help them forget about everyday problems.
24. A podcast’s description is the key factor for hitting “play” on a new podcast.
On a 0-10 scale, with 10 being the most important factor for playing a new podcast, podcast listeners give 7.8 to a podcast’s description. Less important factors include episode titles (6.3), frequency (5.6), ratings and reviews (5.3), artwork (5.2), name (5.1), and familiarity with the guest (4.6) and host (3.7).
25. 87% of consumers prefer a podcast type of content.
87% of consumers prefer this type of content because they can do other things while listening to podcasts. 80% of them like portability, 78% of listeners like that they can listen to podcasts anywhere, 76% of people like to listen to podcast hosts, and 73% of them like the fact that they can listen to them on a PC.
Additionally, Slideshare asked listeners what it would take for them to listen to podcasts even more. 65% of them said that they want more topics that they like, 60% would like more celebrity podcasts, 57% need more free time, 50% wish podcasts were easier to find, 45% marked easier access, 40% of people want reminders, and 35% of respondents said more advertisement is required.
26. 28.9% of listeners give new podcasts up to 15 minutes to hook them in.
Not all podcast fans are that generous. Podcasters have up to 5 minutes to engage 27.5% of listeners, while 2.3% will tune out if a podcast doesn’t hook them in less than a minute. But there are also optimistic folks who will sit through an entire episode (22.6%), two episodes (10.2%), 3-5 (8.3%), or 6+ (0.3%) episodes to decide if a podcast is worth it.
27. 90% of US podcast listeners listen to podcasts at home.
A survey done in Aug 2019 showed that 90% of podcast consumers in the US prefer listening to podcasts at home. Some other most popular locations are the gym, during walks, and while commuting.
To create your own podcast you need an adequate topic, audience, and equipment. Even though this sounds quite simple, it really isn’t. You need to research all of these three things to make the right decision, or your podcast won’t be successful.
Luckily, the podcasting industry is willing to share information about the technology they use. Getting the right software and equipment is essential to produce quality audios that people will listen to.
Instead of wasting money on testing out the equipment, you can just see what others are using and follow their lead. Furthermore, recording equipment and software evolve very quickly, and it can sometimes be difficult to keep track of changes.
28. 65% of podcasts are listened to on a mobile device.
The second most used devices are computers and laptops (25%), and smart speakers are in third place (10%).
29. Two main podcasting platforms in the US are Spotify and Pandora.
The two major platforms for listening to podcasts in the US are Spotify and Pandora. Out of all the people who listened to a podcast at least once in their life, 43% of them used Spotify, while 35% used Pandora. At the same time, the monthly users on Spotify aged 12-24 grew by 21% from 2018-2019.
Another podcast study shows that 38% of podcast listeners in the United States listen via Apple Podcast service. Smartphones are some of the most popular devices for listening to podcasts, and since there are over 100 million iPhones in the US, it makes sense why their platform is so popular.
30. 51.1% of podcast fans prefer podcasts with professional audio quality.
Poor sound quality is a turn-off for more than half of podcast listeners, while 48.9% don’t mind it, as long as the content is high-quality.
31. 72% of podcasters said that they have headphones on when they are life.
The Podcast Host did a survey with 200 podcasters about the technology they use for their work. 72% of podcasters said that they use headphones.
52.5% of studios are equipped with Boom-Arm stands, 50% of podcasters use condenser microphones, 45% of hosts use Blue microphones for their work, and 37% of hosts use an audio interface.
Podcasting industry market
As a fairly young industry, podcasting is changing really quickly. Furthermore, the industry hasn’t come into its standard form yet. This means that things happen fast from one year to another. Predicting and anticipating changes can be really difficult.
Both podcasters and marketers don’t know how podcasting will interact with their audiences, products, advertisement, and technologies. Keeping up with the trends and seeing where the industry is going is essential.
This is what these podcast stats can help you learn, so make sure to read them thoroughly.
32. Podcast advertising revenue is forecasted to exceed $1B by 2021.
In 2018 marketers spent $479 million to advertise on podcasts in the U.S., a 53% increase from $314 million in 2017. Based on market trends it’s projected that revenues will pass $1 billion in 2021.
33. Advertisers will spend at least 500 million on podcast ads in the US in 2020.
Podcast advertising statistics show an increase in spending year-on-year, in 2010 it was 43 million dollars, by 2019 it reached 420 million dollars. In 2020 the forecast to surpass half a billion dollars.
34. Only 1% of podcasts are considered profitable.
For a podcast to be really attractive to advertisers it needs to have at least 5k podcast average downloads per episode on average. This is the bare minimum and it means making a small part-time salary. Only 1% of podcasts have over 37k downloads per episode and they are considered profitable.
35. Advertising what, where, and when?
Podcasting advertising is already growing at a rapid pace. Most advertisers (89.8%) use podcasts for branding marketing campaigns. 63.3% of those advertisements are podcast host-read types of ads, and the majority of ads 62.5.5 are sold either annually or quarterly.
The most common pricing model is the cost per thousand, and 85.7% of podcasters use it. Some of the largest podcasts make from $10-$50 per advertisement for every thousand listeners. The most common types of ads are mid-roll and pre-roll ads. 30% of podcasts run ads that are 60 seconds long, while 27% have 90-second ads.
36. 65% of advertising revenue captured by 5 program topics.
The highest ad revenue (18.4%) has podcasts focused on current events/politics/news. Comedy is next with 13.9%, then business 12.8%, education with 10.6%, and entertainment with 10%. The remaining 35% of ad revenue is scattered throughout dozens of different podcast topics.
37. 89.8% of listeners think that podcast ads are effective.
86.5% of users say they listen to the ads during podcasts and 55.6% say they purchased a product they learned about in a podcast advertisement.
38. 93.8% of podcast listeners don’t mind hearing ads during episodes.
Many podcasters have sponsors, so it’s good news that their ads don’t turn away most of their fans. However, 6.2% say they won’t tune in to a podcast with ads.
39. 54% of listeners will consider a brand after hearing its ad on a podcast.
Relevant ads on podcasts are a great way for brands to expand their reach and attract interested customers. After hearing a brand ad on a quality podcast, more than half of listeners are more likely to purchase from it.
40. Brand ads during podcasts drive purchase intent.
Different types of podcasts improve brands’ chances of driving purchase intent through ads, the most notable being a business (14%), news and politics (12.8%), sports (9.3%), culture and society (9.2%), and comedy podcasts (7.3%).
41. 17% of listeners would consider brands advertised in podcasts.
37% of listeners are somewhat more likely to check advertisements, 39% are indifferent, 3% are less likely to check out brands, and 4% wouldn’t. This shows that podcasts are good for advertisement if the marketers build trust with their audiences.
42. 64% of listeners believe that podcasts are good channels for brand advertising.
More than half of people tuning into podcasts think that these online shows and brand ads are a good fit. If they tune in frequently, they have an opportunity to discover new brands that might be perfect for their needs.
43. NYTimes, Wondery, and TAL/Serial are some of the most profitable shows.
Three leading podcast shows in terms of profit are NYTimes, Wondery, and TAL. Research by Lime.link from August 2019 shows that NYTimes had 9,312,000 downloads during that month. Wodery had a total of 9,261,000, and TAL/Serial reached a total of 5,469,000 downloads during that month.
NYTimes makes the most on average per single ad. However, Wodery has the highest annual revenue estimated at $7.78 million. This is because Wodery plays 3.5 ads on average per episode, while NYTimes plays only 2.
44. The National Public Radio podcasts have the most unique monthly listeners in the US (23.75 million).
In December 2019 the NPR podcasts had over 23.75 million unique users in the US. They also had 54 million downloads in 2014 which is 24 million more than in 2012. IHeartRadio was in second place with 23.33 listeners.
45. The Joe Rogan Experience is the highest-earning podcast with $30 million annually.
Rogan is the king of podcasts at the moment and the numbers show it. He is currently making 3 times more annually than The Dave Ramsey Show that caps $10 million annually. Armchair Expert is third with $9 million and the Bill Simmons Podcast makes $7 million annually.
Top 10 podcasts by downloads
As you might have noticed by now, a lot of people like to download podcasts. Simply put, everyone has different schedules during the day, and it’s simply impossible for every listener of a podcast to tune in live. This is why people download episodes and listen to them when they have time.
Downloads are a good indicator of how popular a podcast is and how many people follow it. This is why we’ve ranked some of the most popular podcasts in the US by their average weekly downloads for you.
Podcasts Ranked by Average Weekly Downloads in the United States
Reporting Period: February 17 – March 15, 2020
|Rank||Podcast||Podcast network||Sales representation||# of new episodes|
|1||NPR News Now||NPR||National Public Media||671|
|2||My Favorite Murde||Stitcher||Midroll||8|
|3||The Ben Shapiro Show||Cumulus Media||Westwood One||21|
|4||Up First||NPR||National Public Media||25|
|5||Dateline NBC||NBC News||Wondery Brand Partnerships||17|
|6||Fresh Air||NPR||National Public Media||24|
|7||NPR Politics||NPR||National Public Media||23|
|8||Planet Money||NPR||National Public Media||8|
|9||Pod Save America||RADIO.COM||Cadence 13||8|
|10||Hidden Brain||NPR||National Public Media||4|
These podcast statistics show podcast growth over the past several years. However, these statistics also help future podcasters learn more about their potential audiences. The podcasting industry is alive and well, but there certainly is room for other people to join and start making money this way.