The number of monthly podcast listeners is expected to grow by 10.1% year-over-year in 2021, with an estimated 117.8 million listeners tuning in each month, per a recent forecast from eMarketer.
The forecast also has podcasts accounting for 53.9% of monthly digital audio listeners, making 2021 the first year where this form of entertainment will account for more than half of digital audio listeners. And, as proof of the ever-growing popularity of podcasts, eMarketer predicts that by 2024 podcasts will account for 60.9% of monthly audio listeners.
Although Apple Podcast has been the dominant platform for listeners to access podcasts in the past, Spotify is expected to surpass Apple Podcast in the number of listeners this year. Indeed, the number of podcast listeners on Spotify is estimated to grow from 19.9 million in 2020 to 28.2 million this year, just edging past the number of Apple Podcast listeners (28 million). While Apple Podcast listenership is forecast to grow minimally in the next two years, Spotify’s numbers are estimated to rise to 33.1 million in 2022 and 37.5 million in 2023.
As one of the few forms of media that have weathered the pandemic and enjoyed growth in ad spend last year, podcast ad spending is estimated to grow 41% year-over-year in 2021 to reach $1.28 billion. This means that podcast advertising will account for close to one-quarter (24%) of total digital audio services ad spending for the year.
Between 2022 and 2024, podcasts are expected to account for an even larger piece of the digital audio ad spend pie, per eMarketer. Ad spend on podcasts is forecast to reach $1.51 billion next year, accounting for 26.5% of total digital audio ad spend, and by 2024 that share will grow to 29% as podcast ad spend reaches $1.83 billion.