There are so many podcast statistics, facts and trends 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 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 Exist, Right Now?
In total, how many podcasts exist in the world? This includes ALL shows, from 1 episode podfaders to 1000+ episode legends.
Apple Podcasts hosts 1.96 million podcasts as of March 2021My Podcast Reviews stats, via Apple Podcast statistics
To compare to previous stats, here's what Apple accounced at WWDC in 2018:
In 2018 there were 550,000 active podcasts on iTunes
In this case, we're going by industry estimates here, rather than solid facts:
There are currently over 47.0 million episodes published in Apple Podcasts, as of March 2021MyPodcastReviews.com stats, via Apple Podcast statistics
Again, to compare, these stats came from Apple at WWDC in 2018:
In 2018 there were 18.5 millions episodes published, totalApple, WWDC 2018
How Many Active Podcasts are There?
The stats show that 59% of the podcasts on Apple Podcasts are currently active. That means they've released a new episode in the past 90 days. That means that:
There are currently 730,635 active podcasts on Apple Podcasts, as of March 2021MyPodcastReviews.com stats, via Apple Podcast stats
Interestingly, this statistic is way down compared to 3 months ago, in December 2020.
The percentage of active podcasts has dropped from 59% in December 2020 to 37% in March 2021.
This means the number of active podcasts in Apple Podcasts has dropped compared to 3 months ago.
The number of active podcasts on Apple Podcasts has dropped from 990,000 in Dec 2020 to 730,635 in March 2021.
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?
57% of people in the US have listened to a Podcast, at least once
Up from 55% in 2020Infinite Dial 2021
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 2% climb in the past year. This is slower than previous years' growth, but still a steady increase.
There continues to be good growth in the simple act of knowing what a podcast is, year on year:
78% of people in the US are familiar with the concept of Podcasting
Up from 75% in 2020Infinite Dial 2020
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 of all Americans now aware of the term “podcast”.
Both monthly and weekly listenership grew as well.
41% of people in the US (12+) listened in the last month
Up from 37% in 2020Infinite Dial 2021
28% of people in the US (12+) listened in the last week
Up from 24% in 2020Infinite Dial 2021
What Does This Mean?
This year, we saw another 4% gain in monthly listening, only 1% down on last year's strong 5% increase. So, continued steady growth in more regular listening. Given that overall listenership hasn't grown as strongly, this might show a move towards increased engagement in existing listeners, while new listener growth declines.
UK Podcast Listening Statistics
Let's break out the UK podcast statistics, 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 2019Radio Joint Audience Research (RAJAR) Spring 2020
What Age Group Listens to Podcasts Most?
What do these Podcast Statistics Mean?
56% of 12 to 34 years olds listen to podcasts on a monthly basis, while only 26% of 55+ listen at the same frequency.Infinite Dial 2021
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. Over a half of all 12 to 34 year olds listened to a show within the last month.
Overall we saw some significant increases this year, plus one drop. The age range of 12-34 continues to grow heavily, by a very strong 7%.
The segmentation still shows a steep drop-off in overall number of regular listeners once it hits the 55+ range (26% in 2021) even though that bracket does continue to increase their engagement (up 4% on last year.)
The surprising podcast stat of 2021 is a drop in listenership within the 35 to 54 age group. That's against the trend of the last few years. Or, it might just be a consequence of the weirdness of 2020. Anecdotally, we heard that listening declined in the middle age demographic because, as the world went remote, commuting time fell off a cliff.
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 do these Podcast Statistics Mean?
Podcast fans consume 8 episodes per week, on averageInfinite Dial 2021
The average weekly listener will consume 8 podcasts during their week. The most prolific listeners – a decent chunk at 11% – listen to 11 or more shows, every week. The deeper podcast statistics 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 Subscribers Does the Average Podcast Get?
Here is your position, based on downloads per episode within the first 7 days, as of March 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
So, if you get 27 listens per episode, or more, you're about average!
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 is catching up quick.
Apple Podcasts is the most popular podcast listening app (30.5%).Updated March 2021.
Spotify is in 2nd place (28.1%)
Here are the top 15, according to Buzzsprout's podcast statistics:
- Apple Podcasts30.5%
- Google Podcasts2.9%
- Web Browser 2.0%
- Podcast Addict1.9%
- Embedded Player (generally, your website) 1.9%
- Buzzsprout Site1.5%
- Stitcher 1.4%
- Overcast 1.3%
- Apple iTunes 1.2%
- Pocket Casts0.9%
- Pandora 0.6%
Interesting that Apple Podcasts dropped 2% over only 3 months (from 32.3% in Dec 2020 to 30.5% in March 2021), while Spotify climbed almost 3%, from 25.5% in Dec to 28.1% in March.
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:
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 monitorThe Podcast Host Gear Survey 2019
You can also see 2018's podcast equipment stats here: Podcast Equipment Statistics: 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 2019
Only 10% of podcasters live broadcast their podcast recordingThe Podcast Host Gear Survey 2019
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 podcasters 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%)
Here are the stats from Buzzsprout, as of Feb 2021, drawing from 94,000+ active podcasts:
- Less than 10 minutes > 13%
- 10 – 20 minutes > 14%
- 20 – 40 minutes > 31%
- 40 – 60 minutes > 23%
- Over 60 minutes > 18%
Updated March 2021.
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%)
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 > 16%
- Over 30 days > 1%
Updated March 2021.
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%
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 podcast stats in 2019, which showed the countries in which podcasting is growing fastest. It makes for an interesting read:
Chile (83.9% growth)Voxnest, March 2019
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).
29% of people in the US (12+) have listened to Spotify in the last month
Up From 25% in 2020Infinite Dial 2021
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 2018Infinite Dial 2019
Podcast Statistics 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, within some demographics, it is clearly accelerating. And those that aren't, might be readily explained through effects of the Pandemic in 2020.
Advertisers may also care about the growth of loyal listeners. The percentage of monthly and weekly listeners continues to grow, and now outpaces overall growth. 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 still a serious boon for listenership. Spotify's market share continues to grow, and current stats via Buzzsprout suggest that it will probably overtake Apple during 2021.
At the very least, podcasters: get your podcasts on Spotify if you haven’t already.
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 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:
- Infinite Dial 2021
- Rajar Midas Audio Survey Spring 2020
- The Podcast Host Gear Survey 2019
- The Podcast Host Discoverability Survey 2019
- Voxnest: Fastest Growing Countries
- MyPodcastReviews Stats Service
- Buzzsprout Podcasting Stats
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.