The number of US consumers (ages 12 and up) who listen to podcasts on a monthly basis continues to rise, up to 37% this year, from 32% in 2019. While podcast listening has increased across all age groups, more young people between the ages of 12 and 34 listen than any other age group, per the latest annual Infinite Dial Report from Edison Research and Triton Digital.
The survey of more than 1,500 Americans ages 12+ conducted in January and February of this year found that three-quarters (75%) of respondents are familiar with podcasts, up from 70% in 2019. Furthermore, a full 55% say they have listened to a podcast at some point.
The survey reveals that youth are the most likely to be listening to podcasts. Indeed, about half (49%) of 12-34-years-old respondents report having listened to a podcast in the month prior to the survey, up from 42% in 2019. This compares to 40% of 35-54-year-olds and 22% of respondents ages 55 and older who had listened to a podcast during the same time period.
Across gender lines, although the proportion of men who listen to podcasts monthly has increased slightly in the past year (39% in 2020 vs. 36% in 2019), the percentage of women who listen jumped, from 29% in 2019 to 36% in 2020. Previous research reflects this increase in female listeners as well as highlights the increased time women spent listening to podcasts.
Meanwhile, nearly two-thirds (63%) of monthly podcast listeners are White, with the next-largest share tied between African-Americans and Hispanics at 11%.
Weekly Listenership Increases Slightly
Almost one-quarter (24%) of total respondents report listening to a podcast in the week prior to the survey, up from 22% last year. This falls in line with previous years, where weekly listening has slowly and steadily increased. In 2013, for example, only 7% of Americans listened to podcasts weekly.
The amount of time spent listening to podcasts has also increased. Among those who listened to a podcast in the previous week, respondents spent 6:39 (hours: minutes) engaging with podcasts. This is up from 6:29 in 2019, but also represents an increase from 2018, when the average listening time was at its previous high of 6:37.
Listeners Tune In to Multiple Shows While on the Go
Six in 10 (59%) respondents who listened to podcasts in the previous week listened to at least 2, while close to one-fifth (18%) reported listening to 6 to 10 podcasts during that time. But where are they listening to these podcasts and how do they find them?
To get all their listening in, Nielsen found that heavy podcast listeners are more likely than average listeners to listen away from home either at work, in transit or other places such as the gym, while another study from Westwood One and Audience Insight shows that the largest number of podcast listeners in the US access them through Apple Podcasts, Spotify or Google Podcast.
And, as Americans spend a lot of time driving, it comes as no surprise that most audio listening of all types happens while in their cars.
These modes of listening – outside the home – are obviously on hold for many now given the shelter-in-place orders they are experiencing due to the coronavirus pandemic. It will be interesting to see in future studies what impact being homebound will have on podcast listening time.
To read more, find the report here.
About the Data: Findings are based on a telephone survey of 1,502 Americans ages 12+ fielded in January/February 2020.