Podcast Statistics & Industry Trends: Avg. Listener Numbers, Gear, Formats & More

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There are so many podcast statistics, facts and trends circulating, from listener numbers to industry size. It’s hard to know where to start. So, to make your life easy, I thought I’d bring as many podcast industry stats together here, for your reading pleasure.

I’ll keep this article up to date as new reports come out. Therefore, below, you should find the latest numbers, according to the podcast industry.

So, let’s get into it. Here are the questions we’ll cover. Take your pick!

How Many Podcasts Are There, Right Now?

In total, how many podcasts are there in the world, right now?

There are 4,058,150 total podcasts registered, around the world.

podcastindex.org – April 2022

This is down from 4,449,114 (-8%) in December 2021. So where did over 390,000 podcasts go? We reached out to the Podcast Index to ask if they’d changed anything at their end. In short, they’ve tightened up their criteria on what gets considered to be a valid podcast.

Unsurprisingly, there were a lot of “hey, is this thing on!?” 20-second 1-episode “podcasts” out there on the free hosting platforms. The new criteria are that shows must have at least 3 episodes (one is often a trailer), and at least one of those episodes has to be 3 minutes long.

So now that we know the total number of podcasts, let’s look at one of the most in-demand of podcast statistics: how many of them are registered in the biggest listening platform – Apple?

Apple Podcasts hosts 2,440,383 podcasts as of April 2022

Podcast Industry Insights courtesy of Daniel J. Lewis

This is up from 2,332,900 (+4.6%) in September 2021. To show growth over the past few years, here’s what Apple announced at WWDC in 2018:

In 2018 there were 550,000 active podcasts on iTunes

Apple, WWDC 2018

How Many Podcast Episodes Are There?

In this case, we’re going by industry estimates here, rather than solid facts:

There are currently over 65,097,311 episodes published in Apple Podcasts, as of April 2022

Podcast Industry Insights courtesy of Daniel J. Lewis

This is up from 52,990,000 (+18%) in June 2021. Again, to compare, these stats came from Apple at WWDC in 2018:

In 2018 there were 18.5 millions episodes published, total

Apple, WWDC 2018

How Many Active Podcasts are There?

The stats show that 21% of the podcasts on Apple Podcasts are currently active. That means they’ve released a new episode in the past 90 days.

There are currently 512,480 active podcasts on Apple Podcasts, as of April 2022

Podcast Industry Insights courtesy of Daniel J. Lewis

This is down from 755,715 in June 2021, and 548,447 in December 2021.

The percentage of active podcasts has dropped from 34% in June 2021 to 23% in December 2021, to 21% in April 2022

This seems a pretty massive drop in activity in just under a year…

The number of active podcasts on Apple Podcasts dropped from 990,000 in Dec 2020 to 548,447 in Dec 2021, then to 512,480 in April 2022

Here are the recent stats, which show a decreasing trend:

  • December 2020: 59% active podcasts
  • March 2021: 37% active podcasts
  • June 2021: 34% active podcasts
  • December 2021: 23% active podcasts
  • April 2022: 21% active podcasts

As to what’s causing this… there was certainly a huge increase in new podcasts during the early stages of the pandemic. 2020 was a bumper year for growth as potential podcasters found more time and space to create, and therefore turned into active podcasters. Combine that with companies turning more to digital to either market themselves, or to communicate with staff, and you have a podcasting growth spiral the likes of which we’ve never seen.

But, now – with many folks back to “normal” work and life – a lot of those podcasters have lost enthusiasm, and internal podcasting projects have been abandoned. So, the 2020 boom raised our numbers, and now many of those shows have turned inactive.

How Many People Listen to Podcasts in 2022?

Familiarity is one thing, but actually taking action on it is another. So, how many people have actually gone ahead and listened to a podcast? These are from the latest Infinite Dial stats, released early 2022.

62% of people in the US have listened to a Podcast, at least once

Up from 55% in 2020 & 57% in 2021

Infinite Dial 2022
podcast listening stats

What Does This Mean?

Infinite Dial analyzes listenership in steps: have ever listened to a podcast, monthly, and weekly. The gap between listenership and familiarity has often seemed insurmountable. How do we get the people who are familiar with the term to become interested in trying a podcast, or invested enough to learn how to listen? What kind of tools can we use to get them there?

Listenership continues to grow, with a 5% climb in the past year. This is bigger than the previous two years growth, too!

How Many People Know What a Podcast Is?

There continues to be good growth in the simple act of knowing what a podcast is, year on year:

79% of people in the US are familiar with the concept of Podcasting

Up from 75% in 2020 & 78% in 2021

Infinite Dial 2022
podcast stats on familiarity

What Does This Mean?

“Familiarity” doesn’t necessarily mean that the respondent has listened to a podcast, or even really knows how podcasts work, but that they have been exposed to the term.

As podcasts grow in their references in more traditional media and enter general conversations, so too will we see growth in familiarity; it’s a good benchmark for analyzing entry into the mainstream consciousness and out of the podcaster bubble. Indeed, this year, familiarity continues to rise at a rapid pace, with more than 3 out of 4 Americans now aware of the term “podcast”.

How Many People Listen to Podcasts on a Monthly Basis?

Both monthly and weekly listenership fell slightly.

38% of people in the US (12+) listened in the last month

Down from 41% in 2021

Infinite Dial 2022

26% of people in the US (12+) listened in the last week

Down from 28% in 2021

Infinite Dial 2022
monthly podcast listening stats

What Does This Mean?

This year, we saw the first drop in regular monthly podcasting listening in almost 10 years, since 2013. Now, 38% of people listen to podcasts on a monthly basis.

Is this disheartening? I don’t think so. Overall listenership grew really strongly (those who have started listening at all to podcasts). So, those new listeners might take a while to develop into more regular listeners, and that might drag down our % here a little.

Or, the general world craziness may just have disrupted enough routines to contribute to lowering that number. We all know 2020 and 2021 were crazy in all sorts of ways, and that was bound to change people’s habits.

I think we’ll have to wait until 2023’s numbers to see if it’s a true trend.

UK Podcast Statistics

How Many People Listen to Podcasts in the UK?

Let’s break out the UK podcast statistics, based on the recent Ofcom survey, in April 2021, and Rajar’s regular survey. The situation in the UK is a little different, with lower listening stats across the board. But, the UK is seeing good growth in weekly podcast listening, year on year.

50% of adults in the UK have listened to a podcast

Ofcom podcast survey, April 2021

25% of adults in the UK are regular podcast listeners

Regular means once per week or more (Ofcom podcast survey, April 2021)

Weekly listening was only at 14% in 2019, and 18% in 2020, according to Rajar’s Spring 2020 data, so this shows really good growth in UK listening numbers.

What Age Group Listens to Podcasts Most?

Taking a look, now at how listening stats differ across the ages. Do younger people listen more, or older? Let’s take a look.

monthly podcast statistics by age group

What do these Podcast Statistics Mean?

50% of 12 to 34 years olds listen to podcasts on a monthly basis, while only 22% of 55+ listen at the same frequency.

Infinite Dial 2022

It looks like podcasting is a young person’s game! Proportionally, people in the 12 to 34-year-old age group listen to podcasts more frequently than their older counterparts. Half of all 12 to 34-year-olds listened to a show within the last month, though that did drop from 56% in 2021. Growth had been heavy in the previous 3 years, though, so perhaps it’s now just finding a natural plateau in this bracket.

The segmentation still shows a steep drop-off in overall number of regular listeners once it hits the 55+ range (22% in 2022) and that bracket has also dropped 4% from 26% in 2021.

We do see some actual growth in the 35-54 range, though. They’re up 4% from 39% in 2021 to 43% in 2022!

How Many Podcasts do Listeners Consume Every Week?

Let’s take a look at volume, next. How many podcasts do the most regular listeners, those that listen weekly, consume?

average stats on podcast episode listens

What do these Podcast Statistics Mean?

Podcast fans consume 8 episodes per week, on average

Infinite Dial 2022

The average weekly listener will consume 8 podcasts during their week. The most prolific listeners – a decent chunk at 18% – listen to 11 or more shows, every week. The deeper podcast statistics show that around half of all regular listeners will consume 3 to 5 shows every week, which is a significant amount of content.

How Many Listeners Do Podcasts Get on Average?

This is the number everyone cares about: how do you compare to other podcasters? Here are stats from Buzzsprout, one of the biggest Podcast Hosts in the world, on how many listeners podcasts tend to get.

Here is your position, based on downloads per episode within the first 7 days, as of April 2022:

  • Top 1% of Podcasts > 3994
  • Top 5% of Podcasts > 795
  • Top 10% of Podcasts > 335
  • Top 25% of Podcasts > 93
  • Top 50% of Podcasts > 30

So, if you get 30 listens per episode, or more, you’re about the same as the middle-of-the-road average Buzzsprout podcast user, right at the 50% mark!

Here are the previous stats:

October 2021

  • Top 1% of Podcasts > 3974
  • Top 5% of Podcasts > 731
  • Top 10% of Podcasts > 308
  • Top 25% of Podcasts > 87
  • Top 50% of Podcasts > 29

May 2021

  • Top 1% of Podcasts > 3647
  • Top 5% of Podcasts > 629
  • Top 10% of Podcasts > 264
  • Top 25% of Podcasts > 78
  • Top 50% of Podcasts > 28

Feb 2021

  • Top 1% of Podcasts > 3188
  • Top 5% of Podcasts > 584
  • Top 10% of Podcasts > 244
  • Top 25% of Podcasts > 74
  • Top 50% of Podcasts > 27

What are the Top Podcast Listening Apps (What do People Use to Listen to Podcasts?)

Everyone has to listen somehow! But what listening app do people use to listen, whether mobile or computer-based? Apple Podcasts is still the leader, but Spotify isn’t far behind.

Apple Podcasts is the most popular podcast listening app (37.4%) (Via Buzzsprout).
Spotify is in 2nd place (26.8%)

Updated April 2022.

Here are the top 10, according to Buzzsprout’s podcast statistics:

Listening ProviderMay 2021 (%)October 2021 (%)April 2022 (%)
Spotify29.431.226.8
Apple Podcasts29.831.137.4
Web Browser2.62.62.9
Google Podcasts2.72.42.4
Castbox2.91.92.0
Podcast Addict1.61.51.5
Overcast1.21.11.2
Apple iTunes1.01.11.1
Pocket Casts0.80.80.7
Amazon Music0.90.70.7
Percentage of listener share for each of the top

As you can see, Buzzsprout showed Spotify as the top listening platform (just) back in October 2021. But Apple now seems to have regained a bit of a lead on them. There are a couple of reasons why this might be.

The first is that Buzzsprout may have tweaked something in how they measure these stats. They’re now much more in line with Libsyn who publish similar numbers.

The second is that Spotify might be a brilliant music app, but, at this moment in time, it just isn’t a great podcast listening app. Could it be that their users are moving on to other “proper” podcast apps once they discover they like listening to spoken-word content? Possibly!

With that all said, a huge amount of podcast listening is still taking place on the platform…

How Many People Listen to Spotify?

What should not be ignored when thinking about podcasting’s reach is Spotify’s growth as a recognizable audio brand, and how this plays into the podcasting surge.

Spotify have increased monthly listening by American audiences overall. 35% of all people have listened in the last month.

  • Up from 20% in 2018
  • Up from 25% in 2020
  • Up from 29% in 2021

35% of people in the US (12+) have listened to Spotify in the last month

Up From 25% in 2020 & 29% in 2021

Infinite Dial 2022

How Many People Listen to Podcasts on Spotify?

Leading on from Spotify’s general growth, above, it seems that their work in podcasting has had a pretty big effect since they branched out into podcasting. The growth in podcast listening within the Spotify audience is huge.

53% of monthly Spotify Listeners, 12-24 years old, also listened to a Podcast in the last month

Up from 32% in 2018

Infinite Dial 2019
Podcast Listening age 12-24

What Equipment Do Podcasters Most Commonly Use?

Finding the right podcast equipment is always an exciting job, but it can be daunting. So, what’s the most popular gear out there? In Spring 2019 we published our latest findings around podcast equipment statistics: The Podcast Host Gear Survey 2019. Here are some of the top-line numbers based on responses to this survey.

According to our survey respondents:

Rode is the most popular microphone brand (19%) with Blue in 2nd place (17%)

The Podcast Host Gear Survey 2019

The Blue Yeti (17%) is the most popular mic, with the Blue Snowball in 2nd place (9%)

The Podcast Host Gear Survey 2019

35% of people use a dynamic mic, 29% use a condenser mic and 33% use a USB mic

(stats not mutually exclusive – the Blue Yeti is Condenser AND USB)

74% of podcasters record with headphones, while the rest choose not to monitor

The Podcast Host Gear Survey 2019

You can also see 2018’s podcast equipment stats here: Podcast Equipment Statistics: The Most Popular Equipment, Software & Tools

Do Podcasters Record Video Too?

In most cases, no! Again, these stats are from the Podcast Host Gear Survey 2019 where we asked about video podcasting:

Only 17% of respondents record video along with their podcast

The Podcast Host Gear Survey 2019

Only 10% of respondents live broadcast their podcast recording

The Podcast Host Gear Survey 2019

What Software Do Podcasters Use?

There’s definitely a big range of podcast software in use, by podcasters, but one option commands the bulk of podcast editing and recording usage:

48% of respondents use Audacity to edit their podcast, with Adobe Audition in 2nd place (31%)

The Podcast Host Gear Survey 2019

How Long are Podcasts, on Average?

If you’re trying to decide on how long your podcast should be, then it might help to get an answer to the question: how long is the average podcast?

The most common podcast length is between 20 and 40 minutes (31%)

Across all Buzzsprout Podcasts

Here are the stats from Buzzsprout, as of April 2022, drawing from 114,260+ active podcasts:

  • Less than 10 minutes > 14%
  • 10 – 20 minutes > 15%
  • 20 – 40 minutes > 31%
  • 40 – 60 minutes > 22%
  • Over 60 minutes > 17%

Updated March 2022.

For comparison, here are the same stats from Feb 2021. You can see that these numbers remain fairly consistent, despite over 20,000 new podcasts now active on the platform.

Less than 10 minutes > 13%
10 – 20 minutes > 14%
20 – 40 minutes > 31%
40 – 60 minutes > 23%
Over 60 minutes > 18%

How Often Does the Average Podcast Publish an Episode?

Similarly, if you’re asking, how often should I release my podcast, here’s what Buzzsprout’s Podcast statistics show about the average.

The most common podcast publishing frequency is every 8 to 14 days (39%)

Across all Buzzsprout podcasts

Percentage of podcasts and the frequency by which they release episodes:

  • 0 – 2 days > 7%
  • 3 – 7 days > 36%
  • 8 – 14 days > 39%
  • 15 – 29 days > 17%
  • Over 30 days > 1%

Updated April 2022.

These are virtually identical to March 2021, with a 1% uptick in the 15-29 day camp, and no movement anywhere else. Again, this is interesting given that there are over 20,000 new podcasts active on the platform.

How Do People Find New Podcasts to Listen To?

Let’s find out how listeners are actually finding new shows. These are the results of a discoverability survey we ran in 2020. According to our respondents, here is how they find new shows:

  • Search My Podcast App’s Directory – 40%
  • Directly Ask Someone I Know Who Likes the Same Stuff – 18.3%
  • Ask on Social Media or Online Community – 15.2%
  • Search on Google – 13.6%
  • Browse Through a Podcast Chart or ‘Featured’ Section– 13%
podcast discovery habits

This was one result from The Podcast The Podcast Host Discoverability Survey. The report is essential reading for anyone who wants to grow an audience. It highlights the most effective areas to concentrate on when it comes to promotion and marketing.

We’re always looking to run interesting new surveys too, so if there are any specific podcast data you’d like to see here in future be sure to give us a shout!

Where in the World is Podcasting Growing Fastest?

Voxnext released a set of podcast stats in 2019, which showed the countries in which podcasting is growing fastest. It makes for an interesting read:

Chile (83.9% growth)
Argentina (55.28%)
Peru (49.1%)
Mexico (47.84%)
China (43.62%)

Voxnest, March 2019

Why Do People Start Podcasts?

People start new podcasts every single day. But why? Data in our recent Podcaster Cares Survey shows that the majority our respondents (38.4%) launch shows “as a hobby”.

Is the term “hobby” slightly patronising, though? Many “hobbyist” podcasters prefer to describe their endeavours as a “creative outlet”.

Other common reasons for starting are to build a personal brand (21%) and to grow a business (19.7%).

What Do Podcasters Struggle With Most?

Our Podcaster Problems Survey showed that the vast majority (47.7%) of our respondents get stuck on podcast promotion.

Ideas, scripting, and episode planning caused problems for 17.9%, whilst editing was the issue for 13.4% of respondents.

How Do Podcasters Measure Success?

The term “success” means different things to different people. Our Podcaster Cares survey revealed that the most common way responding podcasters measure it is through spikes in their download numbers.

Feedback from listeners, either via email or podcast reviews, was also shown to be something podcasters put a lot of onus on. The amount of ‘likes’ an episode gets on social was the thing that had the least impact.

Are Podcasters Concerned With Censorship & Content Moderation?

There are an increasing number of conversations about censorship and content moderation in podcasting. We asked about this in our Podcaster Cares Survey.

49.2% said that they were “concerned about harmful, dangerous, and misleading content in podcasting”, but felt that censorship was a “slippery slope”.

19.3% felt it was the responsibility of hosting platforms to “weed out harmful, dangerous, and misleading content”, whilst 17.4% believe this should be the job of the listening apps themselves.

14.2% don’t want to see any content moderation whatsoever, stating that “it’s nobody’s right to try and police podcasting for everyone else.”

What Organisations are Collating Podcast Statistics?

The Infinite Dial report, a survey conducted by Edison Research and Triton Digital, is probably the most popular databank and survey on the state of Podcast industry statistics in the United States, especially audio. The Rajar Midas survey is the equivalent in the UK.

Infinite Dial has conducted phone-based surveys since 1998, including podcasts since 2006–that means since nearly the inception of podcasting, making this incredibly valuable data. The respondent pool of 1500 is composed of people aged twelve and over, weighted against the US census data for population, and split proportionally between landlines and cell phones.

References

I’ve drawn from a range of great sources of Podcast Industry stats in this article, including:

What Our Readers Think About Podcast Statistics & Industry Trends: Avg. Listener Numbers, Gear, Formats & More

Sorry, comments are closed.

  1. Lindsay Harris Friel says:

    Thanks for sharing a link!