Podcast Statistics and Data [December 2022]
Every year, media groups like Statistica, Triton Digital, and Edison Research run digital media surveys to measure trends, track podcast growth, track listener behavior, and share valuable podcast insights from a global perspective.
We update this post monthly with the best podcast statistics so you can stay updated on the industry and make informed decisions about your own podcast!
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How popular are podcasts?
Podcasting has grown drastically and steadily since it began in the early 2000s.
The industry grew alongside the advent of smartphones, smart speakers (Amazon Alexa, Google Home, etc.), mobile devices, and in-dash entertainment systems.
- In 2022, 62% of the population 12+ has listened to a podcast and roughly 79% are familiar with the medium.
- 73% of the U.S. population 12+ have listened to online audio in the last month.
- Over one-third (104 million) of Americans listen to podcasts regularly.
- 38% of those ages 12+ in the U.S. are monthly podcast listeners.
- 43% of listeners ages 35-54 are monthly podcast listeners (the most popular age group for podcast consumption).
- 26% (80 million) of Americans are weekly podcast listeners.
- 88% of Americans own a smartphone.
- Smart speaker ownership grew by over 22% during the first year of the pandemic as the number of people who work from home increased.
- In 2022, 35% of Americans 18+ own a smart speaker.
- During Covid, podcasting experienced unprecedented growth, and podcast audiences diversified.
- Each week, more Americans listen to podcasts than have Netflix accounts.
Spoken word audio popularity
The consumption of spoken word audio (talk radio, podcasts, audiobooks, and sports) is on the rise across the board. According to Edison Research's Spoken Word Audio Report, spoken word media consumption has gone up 214% among Gen Z (13-24 year olds) compared to 13-34 year-olds in 2014.
Here are other insights from the report:
- Almost half (46%) of the U.S. population listens to spoken word audio daily.
- Listeners between the ages of 13-24 account for the most growth among spoken word audio listeners.
- Spoken word audio listeners spend 47% of their time with AM/FM radio, 21% with podcasts, 11% with audiobooks, and 21% with other.
Who listens to podcasts?
Historically, podcast demographics have not mirrored the US population. In 2011, 68% of podcast listeners were white, but this is beginning to change.
Here's the breakdown by ethnicity:
- 57% White
- 13% African American
- 16% Hispanic
- 4% Asian
- 10% Other
The United States accounts for 47.9% of podcast listeners, followed by the United Kingdom with 6.3%, and Canada with 5.0% (full lineup here).
U.S. podcast listener demographics
In years past, U.S. listenership didn't mirror the population, but that shifted significantly in the last year.
- About half of listeners between ages 35–44 and 22% of listeners 55+ listen on a monthly basis.
- Female listenership reached an all-time high in 2021.
- People ages 12-34 make up 66% of podcast fans within America, and the number of podcast listeners declines as age increases.
- 43% of U.S. men and 39% of U.S. women listen to podcasts.
- Over 66% have a college degree (bachelor's or higher) and an average annual household income of $75,000 or more.
- Over one-fourth of Americans ages 55+ listen to podcasts monthly.
International podcast statistics
Podcasting is no doubt popular in the U.S., but it doesn't hold the number one spot for growth or listenership.
- As of 2021, Sweden came in first for podcast consumption, followed by Ireland and Brazil.
- North America and the Asia Pacific have the highest number of listeners.
- 58% of adults in South Korea are monthly listeners.
- Most countries see podcasting engagement rise every year.
- As of 2020, 18% of adults in the U.K. listen to podcasts every week.
- 9 million Canadians over 18 years old listen to podcasts every month.
- Nearly 38% of adult Canadians have listened to a podcast in the last year.
- 28% of Canadian listeners have an annual income of $100,000 or more.
- Canada's podcast audience consists primarily of those ages 18 to 34.
- A little over half of Italians between ages 18 and 34 have listened to a podcast in the last year.
- Music programs are the preferred podcast genre for 45% of Italian listeners, second to news programs.
According to Voxnest, podcasting is growing the fastest in:
- Chile +83.9%
- Argentina +55.3%
- Peru +49.1%
- Mexico +47.8%
- China +43.6%
How do people listen to podcasts?
Most podcast consumers listen to audio content using their smartphones and play episodes via a major podcast app like Apple or Spotify.
Here are some other ways people listen to content:
- 13% of Americans listen to podcasts on a desktop or laptop.
- 28% of U.S. adults listen to podcasts while driving.
- 73% listen to podcasts on their smartphone their cell phone.
- 32% of those 18+ who have ridden in a car in the last month listen to podcasts.
- 18% of people ages 18+ own a vehicle with a smart entertainment system.
- 49% of podcast listening happens at home.
- A qualitative study from Edison Research shows that young people listen to podcasts on their TVs while they do things around their homes.
Most people (26%) listen to podcasts from 10 a.m. to 2 p.m. Before 10 a.m. is the next most popular time to listen to podcasts (25%).
Other popular podcast listening times are:
- 2 p.m. – 6 p.m. | 21%
- 6 p.m. – 10 p.m. | 15%
- 10 p.m. – 2 a.m. | 11%
What are the most popular podcasts?
According to the Edison Podcast Metrics, the 10 top podcasts are:
- The Joe Rogan Experience
- Crime Junkie
- The Daily
- This American Life
- The Ben Shapiro Show
- Stuff You Should Know
- My Favorite Murder
- Dateline NBC
- Office Ladies
Most popular podcast genres
According to a Statistica study, 22% of podcast listeners in the United States prefer comedy as a genre.
News is the second most popular podcast genre, followed by true crime, sports, and health & fitness.
Most popular podcast directories
As of December 2022, Apple Podcasts holds the number one spot with 38.6% of all podcast listeners and 44,194,930 podcast downloads.
Spotify currently holds the number two spot with 26.7% of podcast users and 30,549,230 downloads.
Other podcasting platforms and listening apps in order of popularity:
- Web Browser | 3.5%
- Google Podcasts | 2.6%
- Apple iTunes | 2.0%
- Buzzsprout Embed Player | 1.4%
- Castbox | 1.4%
- Podcast Addict | 1.3%
- Overcast | 1.0%
- Your Buzzsprout site | 0.8%
- Amazon Music | 0.7%
- Pocket Casts | 0.7%
- iHeartRadio | 0.6% (full list here)
Listener behavior and trends
Knowing how podcast listeners behave gives you actionable ways to improve your content and increase engagement.
These podcast stats reveal trends relating to listeners' daily habits and routines.
- Podcast listeners are more likely to follow brands on social media and own a smart speaker (like HomePod mini or Amazon Echo).
- Avid podcast fans listen to the radio 65 minutes more than most Americans.
- On average, podcast listeners tune into eight different shows per week.
- 80% of listeners listen to all or most of every podcast episode they start.
- Podcast listeners subscribe to an average of six shows.
People who listen to at least five hours of podcasts a week have slightly different behavior than average listeners. The Edison Research Super Listeners 2021 survey showed that super listeners:
- Consume an average of 11.2 hours of podcasts a week.
- Often listen to content that also includes video.
- Discover podcasts through YouTube most often (19% of super listeners).
- Are 94% more likely to subscribe to some kind of premium streaming service.
Podcast episode trends
Podcast episode length and publishing frequency vary, but there are trends that appear in the data.
Over 50% of podcasts are between 20 and 60 minutes. Less than 10% of episodes are shorter than ten minutes, and around 17% are longer than 60.
Below is December's episode data according to Buzzsprout's stats.
Duration of podcast episodes:
- Less than 10 minutes | 16%
- 10–20 minutes | 15%
- 20–40 minutes | 31%
- 40–60 minutes | 20%
- Over 60 minutes | 17%
Frequency of published episodes:
- 0–2 days | 7%
- 3–7 days | 35%
- 8–14 days | 39%
- 15–29 days | 17%
- Over 30 days | 1%
When do most podcasters publish new episodes?
A recent Podchaser study reviewed six months of data to determine the best day for releasing new episodes. The results showed that weekdays are more popular publishing days than weekends, but no particular weekday is better than another.
You can review the full survey to see the best publishing days broken down by podcast category.
Podcast discovery trends
Podcast listeners have many ways they find new content. Here's a breakdown illustrating how listeners find new podcasts:
- 30% of new podcast listeners search the internet to find new shows.
- 19% ask friends and family for podcast recommendations.
- 17% use social media.
- 6% take host recommendations.
- 7% hear suggestions from advertisements on other audio programs.
This data highlights the importance of the two leading podcast marketing strategies: quality SEO and word of mouth.
Podcast advertising trends and performance
Podcasting is a highly effective marketing tool for big-name brands, small businesses, and entrepreneurs looking to grow their reach.
These stats illustrate the efficacy of the medium as an advertising platform:
- 60% of podcast listeners have bought something from a podcast ad.
- 72% of listeners who have listened to a podcast for four or more years have purchased a sponsored ad.
- 69% of respondents say podcast ads increase their awareness of products, brands, and services.
- 81% say they pay attention to podcast ads more than they do to radio, TV commercials, billboards, and even digital ads on social media.
- Ad revenue from podcasting is projected to exceed $2 billion by 2023.
The Super Listeners 2021 survey by Edison Research showed the advertising preferences of 1,000 people who consume at least five hours of podcasts a week. Here's what they found:
- 49% believe that podcast hosts actually use the products and services they recommend.
- Pre-recorded ads not read by the podcast host are the least liked type of podcast ad among Super Listeners.
- 30% said it's very important to them to limit their exposure to podcast advertising.
- 22% said there are "way too many" podcast advertisements compared to other forms of media.
- 51% said they pay more attention to podcast ads than other media.
Edison Research and NPR just released their 2022 Smart Speaker Audio Report. The study revealed these stats about smart speaker owners:
- They are 48% more likely to consider a brand after hearing an ad via the speaker compared to ads heard in other places.
- 37% are somewhat likely to ask to be sent more information if given the opportunity to interact with an ad via their smart speaker.
- 80% agree that brands that advertise on smart speakers are innovative.
The future of podcasting
The podcast industry continues to grow at a rapid rate. Here are some industry predictions for 2022 and beyond.
- Industry experts expect podcasting to grow significantly in 2023 as on-demand audio increases in popularity.
- Current estimates project that listeners in the U.S. could increase from 75.9 million to 100 million listeners in the U.S. by 2024.
- Forecasts project total podcast listeners will exceed 160 million by 2023
- Podcast listenership is projected to rise steadily in 2022 as podcast popularity increases and becomes even more mainstream.
- Monthly podcast listening is growing the fastest among Americans ages 55+.
Is the podcast industry growing?
As of 2022, podcast listeners as a group have grown 29.5% in the last three years. There are currently 120 million podcast listeners in the U.S. and over 420 million listeners in the world. Experts predict there will be over 160 million podcast listeners worldwide by 2023.
What percentage of the population listens to podcasts?
According to the latest survey, 57% of U.S. consumers listen to podcasts, and 78% are familiar with the medium.
How many podcasts are there in 2022?
Getting an exact podcast count is more complicated than it might seem. Not all podcasts have public RSS feeds, and some "dormant", non active podcasts can affect the number. Weighing all the factors, experts estimate there are roughly 4 million podcasts.
What is the most popular podcast this year?
The Joe Rogan Experience is the most popular podcast in terms of monthly podcast listeners (data taken from Q4 2021-Q3 2022).