“Hey, there’s this great podcast you should check out.”
It seems like only yesterday that this water cooler cliche entered our lives. ‘Twas a simpler time, when people would engage in long-winded conversations without feeling the need to freeze them in time and share them with the masses. But today, thanks to audio editing software and our social media culture, it seems everyone and their mom has taken to the format. Literally. (And more power to those mic’d up mamas.)
To be fair, the podcast scene isn’t all self-indulgence. It’s an exciting frontier for storytellers, historians, thought leaders, comedians and more. For consumers burned out by computer screens (or books, for that matter), podcasts are a bountiful source of information delivered by relatable voices, without the need for scrolling and staring. They deliver fresh takes on old material, or creative and new content on topics across the spectrum of entertainment and education.
Check out our previous post, What Is a Podcast? to learn more on the basics of this booming media space.
Businesses and entrepreneurs are tapping this idea left and right to stay keen on their respective industries and share expertise and experience with like minds. Business podcasts are fast becoming a shared aspect of modern life, a little like yoga balls once were.
Even if you have no interest in launching your own podcast — and frankly, that’s okay; not everyone should — it’s an undeniable new force for advertising to your target audience. One recent study revealed listeners are more receptive to ads on podcasts than any other medium. For as long as this wave is cresting, it’s highly advised to “hang ten” in one way or another.
Below are some notable podcasting statistics that provide evidence of the medium’s rise and its value for businesses looking to get involved.
General podcast statistics
As of May 2018, there were approximately 525,000 active podcasts. (Forbes, 2018)
As of May 2018, there were more than 18.5 million published podcast episodes. (Forbes, 2018)
Almost half of Americans age 12 or older have listened to a podcast, compared to only 11% in 2006. (Forbes, 2018)
Approximately 26% of Americans age 12 or older have listened to a podcast in the past month. (Forbes, 2018)
Those in the 25 to 54 age group are the most active podcast listeners, with 32% having listened to a podcast in the past month. (Forbes, 2018)
36% of monthly podcast listeners are age 35 to 54. (Forbes, 2018)
Podcasting revenues reached $314 million in 2017. (TechCrunch, 2019)
Podcasting revenues are projected to hit $659 million in 2020. (TechCrunch, 2019)
TIP: Learn about these 11 podcast editing terms in order to know exactly what you're doing behind the scenes.
Streaming and downloading statistics
90% of podcast downloads originate from podcast-specific applications. (Blubrry)
10% of a podcast’s downloads come from web browsers. (Blubrry)
Apple and Spotify account for at least 80% of the podcast and music-streaming markets in the U.K. (TechCrunch, 2019) and at least 80% in the U.S. (Billboard, 2018).
Anchor says it is powering 40% of new podcasts as of early 2019, up from 33% in summer 2018. (TechCrunch, 2019)
BBC’s Sounds app has had more than 1.7 million downloads since it was launched at the end of 2018. (TechCrunch, 2019)
Spotify says it may spend $400–$500 million on podcasting in 2019. (TechCrunch, 2019)
Listener demographics statistics
76% of British podcast listeners have graduated from college or university. (Audioboom, 2017)
34% of monthly podcast listeners in the U.S. have more than a four-year college degree. (Forbes, 2019)
35% of monthly podcast listeners in the U.S. earn a yearly salary of $100,000 or more. (Forbes, 2019)
39% of owners of small- and medium-sized businesses listen to podcasts. (Forbes, 2018)
65% of owners of small- and medium-sized businesses who listen to podcasts listen at least weekly. (Forbes, 2018)
70 to 72% of owners of businesses with 100 to 500 employees listen to podcasts. (Forbes, 2018)
The 18 to 34 demographic makes up 44% of the global podcasting audience. (Forbes, 2018)
59% of podcast listeners in the U.S. are white, which is nearly identical to the population in general (58%). (Edison Research, 2018)
12% of podcast listeners in the U.S. are African-American, which is identical to the population in general (12%). (Edison Research, 2018)
11% of podcast listeners in the U.S. are Hispanic, while they make up 15% of the total population. (Edison Research, 2018)
7% of podcast listeners in the U.S. are Asian, while they make up 4% of the total population. (Edison Research, 2018)
7% of podcast listeners in the U.S. are of a different race/ethnicity than the four listed above, which is identical to the population in general (7%). (Edison Research, 2018)
Podcast advertising statistics
Ad spending on podcasts totaled around $326 million in 2018. (Forbes, 2018)
Ad spending on podcasts is projected to reach $534 million by 2020. (Forbes, 2018)
63% of podcast listeners have bought something the host promoted. (Inc., 2015)
Listeners in the U.S. are more receptive to ads on podcasts than any other medium, with 55% saying they always or sometimes pay attention to podcast ads. (Business Insider, 2019)
25% of British podcast listeners say they are more likely to purchase a product promoted by a podcast host because they trust the host’s judgment. (Audioboom, 2017)
77% of British podcast listeners say they support ads and live reads to keep the format free for users. (Audioboom, 2017)
Podcast listeners consume approximately 1 hour and 45 minutes more audio per day than the average American. (Inc., 2015)
Podcast listeners spend more than 25% of their total audio time listening to podcasts. (Inc., 2015)
One third of British podcast listeners say they listen to more than seven podcasts a week. (Audioboom, 2017)
77% of U.S. consumers listen to “most” of the podcast or the full episode when they listen. (Forbes, 2019)
Podcasts may have started as a novel idea but as the numbers show, they’re now a quintessential media source for the Connected Age. A mic and a chair, paired with some editing and hosting tools, are all it takes to try your hand at podcasting. If you’re thinking of getting your proverbial feet wet, our guide on how to start a podcast for your business offers some valuable insight.
Zangre is a former Senior Research Specialist who helped with spearheading G2's expansion into
B2B Services. He studied journalism at the University of North Florida — which is still undefeated in football — and joined G2 in 2016 when there was only one other “Andrew.” He has enjoyed contributing to newspapers and online publications while pursuing music and comedy projects in his free time.