Podcasts have been around for nearly two decades, but the format has come into its own over the last five years. A proliferation of shows, involvement from celebrity talent, investment from large companies like Spotify, and the spread of technologies that boost awareness, like smart speakers, have all helped podcast growth.

Changes in podcast statistics amid the pandemic
Podcasts’ share of digital audio usage will rise to 40.2% by 2023.

US podcast audience statistics 

Podcast listener numbers will see significant growth this year as demand for on-demand audio has increased. In 2021, the number of monthly US podcast listeners will increase by 10.1% year-over-year (YoY) to 117.8 million. 

Podcasts are mostly seeing traction among younger consumers—this year, more than 60% of US adults ages 18 to 34 will listen to podcasts monthly. However, as listeners get older podcast listenership drops. Out of consumers between the ages 35 to 44, about half will listen to podcasts monthly, and less than one-fifth of consumers over 65 will listen to podcasts each month.

Growth of the podcasting industry

The podcast industry is in a particular moment of creative and innovative renaissance, from content creation by publishers and hosts, to listener discovery. And while podcasts have been around for nearly two decades, the format has only just entered the mainstream.

 In 2021, the number of monthly US podcast listeners will increase by 10.1% year-over-year (YoY) to 117.8 million. 

Podcasts are growing outside of the US as well, and Latin America is a key region to watch given the rapid development of Spanish-language content. Additionally, tech companies are jockeying to become the No. 1 destination for podcast listeners, and the biggest players are Apple Podcast, YouTube, and Spotify.

Spotify specifically is projected to become the most popular podcast platform in the US this year. Spotify will surpass Apple Podcast in listeners—28.2 million US internet users will listen to podcasts monthly on Spotify, compared with 28.0 million who will do so on Apple Podcasts.

Podcast market projection statistics

Podcasts have been around for nearly two decades, but the format has come into its own over the last five years. As more and more podcasts have popped up, listenership has climbed.

For the first time, more than half of all digital audio listeners will tune in to podcasts each month. By the end of 2025, there will be over 144 million monthly podcast listeners in the US. People are also spending more time with podcasts—among adult podcast listeners, time spent with podcasts in 2021 will increase by 8.1% YoY to a little more than 44 minutes per day.

Podcast advertising

The podcast audience is not only large and growing, but attractive: Listeners tend to be young, affluent, and educated, and generally open to advertising in podcasting. This is especially valuable for podcast ads, as the unreachable audience grows and advertisers may have more difficulty accessing younger audiences who are more likely to use technology like ad blockers across other forms of digital media.

While the pandemic decelerated podcast ad spending growth, annual spend is on track to see overall growth. We expect US podcast ad spending to increase by 38.7% YoY in 2021. And in just two years, US podcast ad spending will have nearly doubled, from $701.0 million in 2019 to $1.33 billion in 2021.