Podcast Stats in 2020: Latest Industry Growth & Listening Stats
Need podcast stats? Here we look at industry growth, listener numbers, equipment & software podcasters use, how they find new shows, and more!
There are so many podcast stats out there on the interwebs, 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 of them 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 industry.
So, let's get into it. Here are the questions we'll cover. Take your pick!
There has been great growth in the simple act of knowing what a podcast is, since 2018:
70% of people in the US are familiar with the concept of Podcasting
Up from 64% in 2018Infinite Dial 2019
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 7 in 10 Americans now aware of the term “podcast”.
Familiarity is one thing, but actually taking action on it is another. So, how many people have actually gone ahead and listened to one?
51% of people in the US have listened to a Podcast, at least once
Up from 44% in 2018Infinite Dial 2019
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?
Infinite Dial’s work in studying listenership is key to knowing what kind of work the industry has ahead of them. This year saw the amount of people who have ever listened to a podcast cross the 50% mark for the first time, starting to close the gap between listenership and familiarity with a remarkable 6% leap (an accelerating rate, as compared to the average growth of 3-4% from previous years).
Both monthly and weekly listenership grew as well.
32% of people in the US (12+) listened in the last month
Up from 26% in 2018Infinite Dial 2019
22% of people in the US (12+) listened in the last week
Up from 17% in 2018Infinite Dial 2019
11% of adults in the UK (15+) listen on a weekly basis
Up from 6% in 2013Radio Joint Audience Research (RAJAR)
What Does This Mean?
In fact, this year’s 32% in monthly listening was the largest percentage point gain yet; weekly listening was similar to previous years with a 4% point gain. This means there are an estimated 17 million more monthly listeners and 14 million more weekly listeners in the United States than in 2018.
Monthly listenership is also broken down by demographics, which all saw significant increases–especially, it must be said, in the age range of 12-24, which grew by a whopping 10%. The segmentation of demographics in Infinite Dial’s monthly listenership continues to show a steep drop-off once it hits the 55+ range, even though that bracket does continue to increase their engagement.
College-aged students and young professions are a major target audience the podcast industry, and, anecdotally, 2018 produced more podcasts aimed at children and families with children, so this large percentage increase is not a surprise.
In total, how many podcasts exist in the world? This includes ALL shows, from 1 episode podfaders to 1000+ episode legends.
There are over 800,000 podcasts in existenceDaniel J Lewis, Audacity to Podcast, via Apple Podcast stats
The last solid stats came from Apple at WWDC in 2018:
In 2018 there were 550,000 active podcasts on iTunesApple, WWDC 2018
In this case, we're going by industry estimates here, rather than solid facts:
It's estimated that there are over 29 million episodes currently published
Again, the last solid stats came from Apple at WWDC in 2018:
In 2018 there were 18.5 millions episodes publishedApple, WWDC 2018
Infinite Dial’s “online audio” term refers to streamed AM/FM radio and any other streaming audio available online. Online audio listening has gone up across the board, especially in the 55+ age bracket. There was generally an increase in the listenership for spoken word audio across the board, between podcasts and audiobooks. Audiobook listening (“% ever listened to an audiobook”) saw a similar increase to podcasting, also breaking 50% of people who have ever listened to an audiobook.
What Equipment Do Podcasters Use?
In Spring 2019 we published our latest gear stats: The Podcast Host Gear Survey 2019. Here are some of the top line numbers:
Rode is the most popular microphone brand in Podcasting (19%) with Blue in 2nd place (17%)The Podcast Host Gear Survey 2018
The Blue Yeti (17%) is the most popular mic, with the Blue Snowball in 2nd place (9%)The Podcast Host Gear Survey 2018
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 monitorThe Podcast Host Gear Survey 2018
You can also see 2018's stats here: Podcasting Gear Stats: The Most Popular Equipment, Software & Tools
In most cases, no! Again, these stats are from The Podcast Host Gear Survey 2019:
Only 17% of podcasters record video along with their podcastThe Podcast Host Gear Survey 2018
Only 10% of podcasters live broadcast their podcast recordingThe Podcast Host Gear Survey 2018
There's definitely a big range of software in use, by podcasters, but one option commands the bulk of podcast editing and recording usage:
48% of podcasters use Audacity to edit their podcast, with Adobe Audition in 2nd place (31%)The Podcast Host Gear Survey 2018
Let's find out how listeners are actually finding new shows:
Ask on Social Media or Online Community – 43%The Podcast Host Discoverability Survey
Directly Ask Someone I Know Who Likes the Same Stuff – 23%
Search My Podcast App's Directory – 16%
Search on Google – 12%
Browse Through a Podcast Chart – 6%
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's any specific podcast data you'd like to see here in future be sure to give us a shout!
Voxnext released a set of stats last year, which showed the countries in which podcasting is growing fastest. It makes for an interesting read:
Chile (83.9% growth)Voxnest, March 2019
How Has Spotify Changed Podcasting Stats?
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 (24% of all people have listened in the last month, up from 20% in 2018) and especially by those people in the 12-34 age bracket (46%, up from 39 in 2018).
24% of people in the US (12+) have listened to Spotify in the last month
Up From 20% in 2018Infinite Dial 2019
46% of 12-34 year olds in the US have listened to Spotify in the last month
Up from 39% in 2018Infinite Dial 2019
Leading on from Spotify's general growth, above, it seems that their work in podcasting has had a pretty big effect over the past year. 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 2018Infinite Dial 2019
Podcast Growth is Accelerating
The biggest takeaway for advertisers is certainly that podcast listenership is growing steadily, and is not showing signs of plateauing; in fact, some demographics, it is clearly accelerating.
Advertisers may also care about the stability of how many podcasts per week people listen to on average (seven). This is good news for independent podcasters who are still looking for sustainable monetization via advertising.
Spotify is Creating New Podcast Listeners
The next biggest takeaway is that Spotify is a serious boon for listenership, and it seems likely that many of those new listeners who have ever listened to a podcast may have done so because of Spotify. This puts the Spotify-Gimlet-Anchor deal in a different light, even if not surprising to some.
Having the data to clarify and verify is useful and needed to be able to speak to whether Spotify’s audience will actually sustain their future premium podcasts platform. And that does seem even more likely now. At the very least, podcasters: get your podcasts on Spotify if you haven’t already.
What Organisations are Collating Podcast Stats?
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.
Infinite Dial has been 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.
I've drawn from a range of great sources of Podcast Industry stats in this article, including: