Podcast Stats in 2020: Latest Industry Growth & Listening Trends

Need podcast stats? Here we look at industry growth, listener numbers, equipment & software podcasters use, how they find new shows, and more!

Podcast Stats Q4 2019: Latest Industry Growth & Listening Stats

There are so many podcast stats out there on the internet, 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!

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:

75% of people in the US are familiar with the concept of Podcasting

Up from 70% in 2019

Infinite Dial 2020
podcast familiarity stats

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.

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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 3/4 of all Americans now aware of the term “podcast”.

How Many People have Ever Listened to a 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?

55% of people in the US have listened to a Podcast, at least once

Up from 51% in 2019

Infinite Dial 2020
podcast listening trends

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. Last year saw the amount of people who have ever listened to a podcast cross the 50% mark for the first time, and this year that stat has jumped another 5% to 55% in total.

How Many People Listen to Podcasts on a Monthly Basis?

Both monthly and weekly listenership grew as well.

37% of people in the US (12+) listened in the last month

Up from 32% in 2019

Infinite Dial 2020

24% of people in the US (12+) listened in the last week

Up from 12% in 2019

Infinite Dial 2020

monthly podcast listening trends

What Does This Mean?

This year, we saw another 5% gain in monthly listening, which is only 1% less than last year's record 6%. So, continued steady growth in more regular listening.

Monthly listenership is also broken down by demographics, as shown below, and all saw significant increases. Especially, it must be said, in the age range of 12-24, which grew by a whopping 7%. The segmentation of demographics in Infinite Dial’s monthly listenership continues to show a steep drop-off in overall number of regular listeners once it hits the 55+ range (22% in 2020) even though that bracket does continue to increase their engagement (up 5% on last year.)

College-aged students and young professions are a major target audience the podcast industry, and, anecdotally, the past two years have produced a lot more podcasts aimed at children and families with children, so this large percentage increase is not a surprise.

UK Podcast Listening Stats

Let's break out the UK stats, based on the regular Midas survey carried out by Rajar. The situation in the UK is quite different, with lower listening stats across the board. But, the UK is seeing good growth in weekly podcast listening, year on year.

18% of adults in the UK (15+) listen on a weekly basis

Up from 14% in 2019

Radio Joint Audience Research (RAJAR) Spring 2020

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.

Podcast listening stats age groups

What Does This Mean?

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. Almost a half of all 12 to 34 year olds listened to a show within the last month.

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?

What does this Mean?

The average weekly listener will consume 6 podcasts during their week. The most prolific listeners – a decent chunk at 12% – listen to 11 or more shows, every week. The stats show that around half of all regular listeners will consume at least 4 or 5 shows every week, which is a significant amount of content.

How Many Podcasts are There?

In total, how many podcasts exist in the world? This includes ALL shows, from 1 episode podfaders to 1000+ episode legends.

Apple Podcasts passed 1,000,000 total podcasts in April 2020

Daniel J Lewis' My Podcast Reviews Stats, via Apple Podcast stats

To compare to previous stats, here's what Apple accounced 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 29 million episodes published in Apple Podcasts

Daniel J Lewis' My Podcast Reviews Stats, via Apple Podcast stats

Again, to compare, these stats came from Apple at WWDC in 2018:

In 2018 there were 18.5 millions episodes published

Apple, WWDC 2018

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 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 stats here: Podcasting Gear Stats: 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:

Only 17% of podcasters record video along with their podcast

The Podcast Host Gear Survey 2019

Only 10% of podcasters live broadcast their podcast recording

The Podcast Host Gear Survey 2019

What Software Do Podcasters Use?

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 2019

How Do People Find New Podcasts to Listen To?

Let's find out how listeners are actually finding 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's 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 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

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 (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).

25% of people in the US (12+) have listened to Spotify in the last month

Up From 24% in 2019

Infinite Dial 2020

48% of 12-34 year olds in the US have listened to Spotify in the last month

Up from 46% in 2019

Infinite Dial 2020

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

Takeaways

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. 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 may have done so because of Spotify.

Spotify has certainly become a power in podcasting, and potentially the most likely to topple Apple as the top listening destination, although that might be a while away yet. 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. The Rajar Midas survey is the equivalent in the UK.

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.

References

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

If you relish a deeper dive into the details of making a podcast, why not join us at The Podcast Host Academy? We've plenty of courses and downloadable resources, about all aspects of podcasting. Plus, our Weekly Live Q & A sessions can help with any questions you may have.

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