32 Podcast Statistics for 2021 from the Latest Research

Podcasting is a rapidly growing business. More and more people are listening to podcasts every year, and ad revenue is booming. If you need some motivation to get into podcasting in 2021, check out these fascinating podcasting statistics that we’ve compiled from some of the latest industry research.

General Podcast Statistics

These days it seems like everyone is coming out with a podcast. But podcasting can take a lot of time and resources. You need to invest in equipment, figure out what you’re going to talk about, source and interview show guests, and attract an audience. And you’ll need to keep coming out with new episodes regularly if you want to gain any traction.

So is podcasting really worth the effort in 2021? Let’s first take a look at the general state of the podcasting industry and where it’s going.

1. There are currently over 1,950,000 podcasts

The number of active podcast shows is approaching 2 million and climbing daily. Across all these podcasts, there are currently over 47 million podcast episodes.


2. The US podcast audience is predicted to double by 2023

If the number of podcast listeners in the US continues to grow at its current rate, the US podcast audience could be double 2019 figures within the next three years.


3. Three-quarters of people in the US are familiar with podcasting

Listening to podcasts is no longer a niche activity. In fact, podcasts seem to have entered the mainstream. 75% of US adults and teenagers are now familiar with the term after a period of several years where podcasting awareness stayed static.


4. 68% of US adults and teenagers listened to online audio in the last month

The number of people over the age of 12 listening to online audio regularly has been gradually increasing since 2007. Now over 192 million people listen to online radio or streamed audio online at least once a month.


5. 104 million people in the US listen to podcasts monthly

In 2020, 37% of survey respondents had listened to a podcast in the last month, accounting for approximately 104 million people. Regular podcast listening has been on the rise since 2013.


22% of respondents to a Statista survey about podcasts said that comedy was their favorite type of podcasts to listen to. News and true crime were also popular, with sport and health & fitness taking joint 4th place.


Podcast Audiences and Demographics

To be successful with podcasting, it’s vital to know exactly who you’re talking to. Understanding your audience is critical to getting your content right, knowing how long to make each episode, and how often to publish them.

We’ve discovered some interesting facts about the demographics and habits of podcast listeners in 2021.

7. 86% of under-35s listen to online audio at least once a month

The figures for monthly online audio listening suggest that most podcast audiences skew towards the younger generation. While 86% of people aged 12-34 listened to online audio at least once in the last month, only 42% of over 55s said the same.


8. 28% of US adults listen to podcasts while driving

Radio is still the most popular thing to listen in the car with 81% of adults saying they listened to it while driving or being a passenger. 28% had listened to podcasts at least once. The percentage of people listening to podcasts while driving or riding in a car is also growing year on year, while radio listeners are actually dropping.


9. Regular podcast listeners tune in to an average of 6 podcasts per week

Most people who listen to podcasts on a weekly basis listen to more than one podcast each week. The average number of podcasts listened to is six, and 30% listen to six or more.


10. The most common place to listen to a podcast is at home

90% of podcast listeners say they listen to podcasts at home. 64% tune in while they’re in the car, 49% listen while they’re walking, 43% at the gym or while they’re working out, 37% while they’re at work, and 37% on the commute or while using public transportation.


11. 73% of podcast listeners find podcasts by searching the internet

Social media posts and recommendations from friends and family are also popular ways of discovering podcasts. Perhaps surprisingly, only 45% say they use the iTunes store to find new podcasts.


12. 59% of podcast listeners listen while doing housework

While 70% of podcast listeners say they listen without doing anything else, it’s also common to do other activities while listening. Housework and chores was the most common activity, while driving, cooking, and exercising are also common activities to take part in while listening to podcasts.


13. Only 52% of listeners typically listen to the entire podcast

Almost half of regular podcast listeners admit they don’t stay tuned until the end of the episode, although 41% say they listen to most of the podcast.


14. 74% of podcast listeners use podcasts to learn new things

Learning new things is the most common reason for listening to podcasts, with entertainment and staying up to date with latest topics also popular reasons.


15. Over 80% of podcast fans listen to podcasts for 7 hours or more each week

82.4% of podcasts listeners said they clocked up at least 7 hours of podcast listening time. Only 6% said that they listened to podcasts for less than 3 hours a week.


16. 59% of podcast fans spend more time listening to podcasts than they do on social media

Many avid podcast listeners spend more time listening to podcasts than they do on other activities such as reading blogs or watching TV.


Podcast Advertising and Revenue

Podcasting can be a great way to build your brand and engage with your audience. But it can also be an effective way to generate income in its own right.

Most podcast revenue comes from brand ads that are integrated into the main podcast content. Unlike ads in video, they’re less likely to be skipped over. Podcast ads can be lucrative both for the podcaster and the brand as the statistics below show.

17. US podcast revenue for 2020 was almost $1 billion

The annual IAB Podcast Revenue report predicted that podcast ad revenue was to increase by almost 15% in 2020, brining it close to $1 billion. Prior to the pandemic, growth was predicted to be over 29%. Podcasting revenue in 2019 was worth an estimated $708 million, representing growth of 48% from the previous year.


18.The highest earning podcast made $30 million in 2019

The Joe Rogan Experience was the highest earning podcast in 2019, netting $30 million. My favorite murder came in second at $15 million, and The Dave Ramsey Show earned $10 million


19. 54% of podcast listeners say they are more likely to consider a brand they hear being advertised on a podcast

Podcast advertising is a more affordable alternative to television and radio advertising for many brands but does it really work? The research suggest it does – over half of all podcast listeners say that hearing about a brand on a podcast makes them likely to want to find out more.


20. News is the podcast genre with the highest revenue potential

News podcasts generated 22% of the overall ad revenue of podcasts in 2019. Comedy podcasts accounted for 17%, while those in the society & culture genre generated 13%.


21. Health and Wellness brands spend the most on podcast ads in the US

Health and wellness brands accounted for 22% of overall ad revenue in 2019. Home and appliances came in second at 19%, and food and beverage brands made up 13%.


22. Over 55% of podcast listeners bought a product after hearing about it on a podcast

55.6% of respondents to a podcasting survey said they had bought something that was advertised on a podcast. Almost 90% also agree that podcast ads are effective.


Podcast Technology

Consumers have a lot of options when it comes to the hardware and software they can listen to podcasts on. As mobile phones have become a part of everyday life, more people are using them as their technology of choice so they can listen when they’re on the go exercising or on their way to work.

It’s also important to know the most popular apps and platforms that people use for finding and playing podcasts. This means you can make sure your podcast is active and optimized for these platforms.

23. 76 million people in the US own a smart speaker

Smart speaker ownership in the US has reached 27% of the population in 2020 – an increase from 23% in 2019. The most popular device is the Amazon Alexa, with 21% of the US population owning one.


24. 65% of podcast listeners listen on a mobile device

Smart phones and tablets are the most popular device to use for listening to podcasts. 25% use a laptop or desktop computer and only 10% listen on a smart speaker.


25. 25% of podcast listeners use Spotify to listen to podcasts

Spotify is the most popular platform to listen to podcasts, with 25% of podcast listeners using it. 20% use Apple podcasts and 16% listen via Google podcasts. 11% of listeners choose to stream through a website.


26. Podcast listeners spend 42% of their audio listening time on smartphones listening to podcasts

Not everyone listens to podcasts on their smartphones. But those that do are more likely to spend their time listening to a podcast than music. On average, 42% of listening time is spent on podcasts, 18% on streamed audio, 19% on owned music, and 10% listening to music on YouTube.


Podcast Show statistics

So just what is the ideal length for a podcast? And what should you do to make sure your podcast gets found by potential listeners? By looking at the statistics of the average podcast, you can model yours for success.

27. Most podcasts are over 40 minutes long

According to Buzzsprout podcast statistics, 31% of episodes on the platform are between 20 and 40 minutes long. 27% of episodes are shorter than 20 minutes, and 41% are 40 minutes or longer.

Episode duration

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


28. 39% of podcasts publish a new episode every 8-14 days

Producing a new episode weekly or every two weeks seems to be the most common formula, while 36% of podcasts release a new episode every 3 to 7 days. Only 1% of podcasts release new content monthly or less frequently.

Episodes published every…

  • 0-2 days – 7%
  • 3-7 days – 36%
  • 8-14 days – 39%
  • 15-29 days – 16%
  • Over 30 days – 1%


29. Most podcast listeners rate the podcast description as the most important factor to decide whether to listen to a new podcast or not

According a survey of 780 podcast listeners, the podcast description is the most commonly used way to judge a new podcast they’ve come across. Also important are episode titles, the frequency that new episodes are released, and reviews and ratings.


30. Over 27% of new podcast listeners will abandon a podcast if it doesn’t “hook” them within the first 5 minutes

It’s vital to make your podcast appealing to new listeners within the first few minutes, as over a quarter say they will give up if there’s nothing worth listening to after 5 minutes. Almost 28% will keep going until 15 minutes before they stop listening and around 22% will listen to a whole episode before deciding if they’re going to tune in again.


31. Almost a third of potential listeners would feel put off by podcasts over an hour long

32% of podcast listeners said they would feel put off a new podcast if most of the episodes were too long (an hour or longer). However, around 15% said they preferred longer episodes and over half said they don’t care about episode length.


32. 17% of podcast creators record video as well as audio

Releasing podcasts as a video on YouTube can be an effective way to grow your audience, so it’s somewhat surprising that so few podcasters are doing it.


Summing Up

The potential of podcasts to grow an audience and generate income is still growing every year. As society continues to shift away from radio and TV towards online media, podcasts are set to become even more popular in the coming years.

If you’ve thought about starting your own podcast, now is definitely the time to do it. It doesn’t take much to get started – a decent microphone and a podcast hosting service are all you need.

If you’ve taken the plunge and started a podcast, please go ahead and leave it in the comments so we can check it out!


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