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It’s become an understatement to say that podcasting’s value has increased in recent years. What was once just a niche that attracted a mostly tech-savvy crowd now finds itself among the fastest-growing platforms in the world today. Of course, it is one thing to say that out loud and another thing entirely to back it up. Fortunately, the numbers don’t lie and they are spelling out growth for podcasting.

A Nation United 

Let’s kick off the numbers game with two of the most emphatic statistics out there. First, 53% of those aged twelve to fifty-four in the United States of America listen to podcasts. To be specific, this figure is as recent as March 2023. Second, 79% of the United States possess a certain degree of familiarity with the podcasting medium. In other terms, more than half the nation is presently listening while the vast majority is aware of the option to do so. Even if we were to stop right there, then no podcast specialist, podcast producer, or podcast agency would find anything more promising than those two statements.

Serving as supporting statistics are the following: First, the figure for those who listen to podcasts on a weekly basis is 26 %, and they tend to listen up to an averag of eight podcasts within that time. That may not seem particularly high, but that’s just where it starts. The second supporting statistic centers around those who may not listen week by week, but listen on a monthly basis instead. The figure for that is 43%. To put into perspective just how high the potential for growth is, know that at present, 91% of Americans are in possession of a smartphone.

This only goes to show that the popularity of spoken word audio (of which podcasting is but one exemplary example) is not about to wane anytime soon. To back that specific statement up with its own statistic, Edison Research reported in October 2022 that the consumption of spoken word media has risen by a staggering 214% among those aged thirteen to twenty-four years old. Even at a glance, these are the numbers that no self-respecting podcast editor or podcast engineer should ever sleep on.

An Ethnic Outlook

Considering the importance of finding and targeting the right audiences, further scrutinizing even more stats would pay dividends. As podcasting continues to take the country by storm, having a breakdown of monthly US listeners according to their ethnic background paints a clearer picture of the scene all-in-all.

As originally reported by Edison Research in The Infinite Dial 2021, the overwhelming majority of American podcast listeners are white, with the figure for it reaching up to 57%. That demographic is followed by the Latino community, which has a figure of 16%. From there, the stats continue to drop slightly as the African American demographic comes in third place with 13% and then a 10% figure representing those of ‘other’ unspecified background. The Asian demographic comes in at last place, amounting to just 4% of monthly listeners.

It is also worth noting that this study took place in 2021, during a significant period of quarantine. The Senior Vice President at Edison Research, Tom Webster, was quoted as saying, “In the near quarter of a century that the Infinite Dial has been the survey of record for digital audio, the space has never been more vibrant, or more diverse, than it is today.”

The How and When 

Having examined the number of people that listen to their favorite podcasts regularly, it makes just as much sense for us to know the details of their listening habits. Let us again first dive into the stat that should not come as the biggest surprise: 79% listen to podcasts using their mobile devices. This just goes to show that convenience is the key.

On that note, there are two separate, yet still related, stats for that. First, as reported by Neal Schaffer, around 49% of drivers admit to listening to some form of podcast while traveling on the road. That figure is just a little bit higher than the 46% of those who listen to podcasts as they go for a walk. It’s safe to say by now that as crucial as it can be to get from point A to point B, there’s no time like travel time when it comes to listening to your favorite podcasts. 

Continuing on this multitasking trend is the 59% figure of those who claim to listen to podcasts as they juggle their many household tasks. From there, around 49% readily admit to preferring to listen at home instead of being on the road, outdoors, or generally being out and about doing anything else. In regards to the most popular listening times, 26% make it a point to listen between the hours of ten in the morning and two in the afternoon. That’s followed up by the 21% that listen between two to six pm, then the 15 % that listens between six to ten, and lastly, the 11% that find listening from ten pm to two in the morning to be the ideal time.

A Look into the Future

It’s as clear as day that the future of podcasting is bright. The question here is, just how bright will it be? Once again, the answer lies in the numbers that are already available to us. Insider Intelligence has already begun creating projections ranging from the previous year of 2022 up until 2026. For North America alone, the percentage of those listening to or downloading podcasts online is set to grow from 2022’s 40.8% to 46.3% in 2026. In addition to that, projections for the other thirteen major markets worldwide indicate only upward trends, though at a somewhat smaller pace.

It would seem that the world has only seen the smallest tip of the podcasting iceberg. With an established audience that is still growing, and with the technology to match the most voracious demands, it is beyond a shadow of a doubt that the best days of the podcast boom have yet to arrive. That’s good news for those who are still trying to get started with podcasting. Anyone can book a free discovery call or talk to the good folks at Podcast Engineers to see how they can get started in the best ways possible!

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