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Podcast statistics unveil a lot of truths about modern consumer behavior and the rise of audio as a content marketing avenue.
My friends at Edison Research have released their 2019 podcast statistics via a new study called The Podcast Consumer 2019. Conducted with Triton Digital, this comprehensive report contains a ton of podcast statistics that show growth spikes in some cases, and continuation of trends that first appeared in 2015. To see how podcast statistics have changed, visit my prior recaps:
2016 podcast statistics 2017 podcast statistics 2018 podcast statistics
This year, I’ve pulled out 14 of the most interesting statistics about podcasting from The Podcast Consumer 2019 research. You’ll find even more in the full report, which I strongly encourage you to download (no cost).
This research was conducted with 5,600+ Americans, ages 12 and up, and was balanced to be a representative sample of age, gender, location and ethnicity.
70% of Americans Have Heard of Podcasts
This is up from 64% in 2018 podcast statistics and represents 197 million Americans. In just the past 12 months, approximately 20 million Americans discovered what a podcast is.
51% of Americans (12 or older) Have Listened to a Podcast
This is the tipping point. When a majority of the country is in favor of something, adoption usually picks up speed. Witness marijuana legalization, favored now by 62% of the nation.
Put a different way, 144 million Americans have listened to a podcast (20 million more than last year). 144 million people is roughly the equivalent of the total population of Canada, PLUS the total populations of New Zealand, Ireland, Norway, Finland, Denmark, Nicaragua, Switzerland, Austria, Hungary, Sweden, Portugal, Greece, Belgium, and Slovakia!
32% of Americans Listen to Podcasts Monthly
Up from 26% last year, this is the biggest one year jump in monthly podcast listening. Fully 90 million Americans listen to podcasts at least monthly, which is approximately the same ratio as Americans who regularly go to church.
Nearly One-Quarter of Americans Listen to Podcasts Weekly
These 2019 podcast statistics show that 22% of Americans listen each week. This is a big jump from 17% last year, and represents 62 million Americans. It’s also the largest spike in weekly listenership ever recorded in this study, which dates back to 2013.
For comparison purposes, nearly FOUR TIMES more people listen to podcasts every week than watched the Game of Thrones final season premiere.
Men Are More Devoted Podcast Listeners
36% of American males (12 and older) listen to podcasts monthly, versus 29% of females.
40% of Americans 54 or Younger Listen to Podcasts Monthly
Across a very large age range, the ratio of podcast listening is 4 out of every 10 persons. It’s interesting that this “share of ear” is so consistent whether you’re 18, 29, or 50 years old. This is indicative of a widely adopted consumer technology: usage becomes pervasive among young people first, followed by middle-aged Americans, and then finally by older persons. It’s the same pattern the Web itself witnessed, as well as smartphone adoption, Facebook usage, and others.
Podcast Listeners Are Much More Likely to Earn $75,000+ per Year
According to these podcast statistics, monthly listeners are a relatively affluent group. In the United States overall, 29% of households earn $75,000 per year or above. Among podcast listeners, it’s 41%.
Habitual Fans Listen to 7 Podcasts Per Week
Among weekly podcast listeners, the average number of podcasts listened to each week is 7. Note that 14% of weekly listeners put their ears on 11 or more shows each week.
Podcast Consumers Listen to Podcasts More Than Any Other Type of Audio
Podcast listeners devote 28% of their audio consumption time to podcasts, on average, with 24% allocated to AM/FM radio, 15% to streamed audio, and 13% to their owned music.
Two-thirds of Podcast Consumers Most Often Listen on a Mobile Device
Through the years of these podcast statistics developed by Edison Research, this has been one of the biggest shifts, as podcast just a few years ago were primarily listened to on a computer. Now, most shows are digested on the go. Note, that podcast listening via “smart speaker” (Amazon Alexa, et al) is now up to 10%, after barely registering just two years ago.
More Than Half of Podcast Consumers Have Multi-tasked While Listening
One of the great drivers of podcast consumption growth is that podcasts are the ultimate multi-tasking content format. Ever try to mow your lawn while reading a blog post? Or while watching a YouTube video? Doable maybe, but not advisable. Podcasts, however, you can consume while you’re doing other stuff, making them perfect to fit into the same time window as other life activities.
These 2019 podcast statistics show that multi-tasking is in full force. 59% have listened while doing housework. 52% while driving. 51% while cooking. And 46% while going for a walk.
And, even more to the point, the NUMBER ONE reason people say they enjoy podcasts is because “you can do other things while listening.”
78% of Podcast Fans Listen to More Than Half the Shows They Download
Among podcast subscribers, a whopping 58% listen to three-quarters or more of all the episodes they download via a podcast app. 20% of podcast consumers listen to half to three-quarters of what they download. Generally speaking, if a podcast fan downloads a show, she or he listens to it. Incidentally, this is why it’s so important to encourage listeners to subscribe to the podcast.
93% of Podcast Fans Listen to Most of an Episode
This is a shocking podcast statistic to me, and is good news for podcasters (like me). This research shows that 52% of listeners hear the entire episode, and 41% listen to most of the episode. This disproves the notion that most podcast fans listen to just the first few minutes of a particular episode.
Note, however, that percentage of podcast consumers who listen to episodes (at least on occasion) at fast speed went up from 19% to 26% between 2018 and 2019. So, they’re listening, but they may be listening at fast-forward speeds!
54% of Podcast Listeners Are More Likely to Consider Buying an Advertised Product
This is also good news for podcasting as an advertising/sponsorship opportunity. In 2019, 17% of listeners say that hearing about a product or service on an episode makes them much more likely to consider purchasing it, and a further 37% indicate they are somewhat more likely to do so.
(If we can help you sell your products or services via our network of podcasts here at Convince & Convert, let us know.)
There are your 14 critical podcast statistics for 2019. Definitely download the entire report.
Also, a reminder that I co-host the popular weekly Social Pros podcast, which covers how medium and large businesses handle social media marketing. Convince & Convert also produces The Content Experience podcast, which covers advanced content marketing strategies.