The share of the US population that says they have listened to a podcast has risen to 57% this year. The proportion that listens monthly is also on the rise, with the latest Infinite Dial Report from Edison Research and Triton Digital showing that 41% of Americans (ages 12+) listened to a podcast in the past month, up from 37% one year earlier.
The growth of monthly podcast listeners has been steady since 2014, when only 15% of the US population reported listening to a podcast within the previous month. Moreover, the proportion of Americans who listen to podcasts monthly has nearly doubled since 2016 (21%).
When looking at listeners by age, it’s clear that podcasts are most popular among younger listeners. The January 2021 survey found that 56% of people ages 12-34 had listened to a podcast in the last month. This is up from 49% in 2020. Indeed, this age group makes up half of the total monthly podcast listeners.
Adults ages 35-54 make up 29% of total monthly listeners. This age group is also the only one that has seen a decrease in monthly reach. In 2020, 40% of adults in this age group listened to podcasts monthly. This year that figure has slipped slightly to 39%. In the meantime, the share of adults ages 55 and older who listen monthly rose to 26% from 22% in 2020.
Some 43% of men and 39% of women listen monthly. Overall, men make up 51% of monthly listeners, while 46% are women and 3% identify as non-binary/other.
A recent report from Nielsen highlighted the diversity of US podcasts listeners. This report shows that although white Americans make up 57% of all monthly listeners, that share has shrunk from 63% in 2016. In the meantime, the share of Hispanic (12% in 2016 vs. 16% in 2021), Asian (3% vs. 4%) and “other” (6% vs. 10%) listeners has increased.
Weekly Podcast Listeners on the Rise
Some 28% of the US population say they have listened to a podcast in the last week, up from 24% in 2020. These listeners tuned in to an average of 8 podcasts in the week prior to the survey, with one-fifth (19%) saying they had listened to 11 or more.
Previous research shows that these heavier listeners are more likely to listen in transit and at work than light listeners. They also seem to prefer podcasts about History, News and True Crime.
Unlike podcasts, online audio appears to have plateaued in its monthly reach. About two-thirds (68%) said they listened to online audio in the last month, which is unchanged from 2020 and only slightly higher than 2019 (67%).
Some 86% of 12-34-year-olds say they have listened in the last month, which is unchanged from last year. In the meantime, reach among those ages 35-54 shrunk from 76% in 2020 to 72% this year, while among older listeners (ages 55+) reach increased to 46% (2020: 42%).
Weekly online audio reach did see an uptick between 2020 and 2021 (60% and 62%, respectively). Those weekly listeners spent an average of 16 hours and 14 minutes listening during the week.
The full report can be found here.
For more on the audience breakdown of online radio listeners, purchase MarketingCharts’ 7th Annual Media Audience Demographics Report.
About the Data: Findings for 2021 are based on a January survey of 1,507 people ages 12 and older, weighted to national 12+ US population figures.