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Number of Podcast Listeners (2022)

by Josh Howarth
October 18, 2022

The podcast sector is growing year after year.

In fact, podcasting is now a multi-billion dollar industry. And millions listen every week.

Below, we’ll dive into the data surrounding the expanding podcasting space, specifically looking at how many people listen to podcasts.

Contents

Podcast Listeners (Key Statistics)

  • There are over 420 million podcast listeners
  • Around 1 in 5 internet users listen to podcasts
  • There are an estimated 4 million podcasts
  • Almost half of Sweden (47%) listen to podcasts
  • There are well over 100 million US podcast listeners
  • The average American tunes in to 8 podcasts per week
  • Spotify and Apple Music have over 60 million combined US-based podcast listeners
  • Half of US 12 to 34-year-olds listen to podcasts

Number of Podcast Listeners

According to the latest available data, there are 424.2 million worldwide podcast listeners. That equates to 20.3% of all internet users.

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The number of people that listen to podcasts has increased by 9.4% over the last year.

By 2025, global listeners are expected to surpass 500 million - around 23.5% of all internet users.

Here’s a look at projected podcast listener growth through 2025:

Year Podcast Listeners Change Over Previous Year Percentage of Internet Users
2019 274.8 million ↑ 22.6% 14.4%
2020 332.2 million ↑ 20.9% 16.5%
2021 383.7 million ↑ 15.5% 18.7%
2022 (projected) 424.2 million ↑ 10.6% 20.3%
2023*(projected) 464.7 million ↑ 9.6% 22%
2024*(projected) 504.9 million ↑ 8.6% 23.5%

Sources: eMarketer, PodcastIndex

Podcast Listeners by Region

According to Statista data, Sweden has the largest share of podcast listeners (47%) from 54 surveyed nations.

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Brazil and the Republic of Ireland are the only other surveyed nations exceeding a 40% listenership.

While, the US (34%), the UK (31%), Canada, and Australia all fell between 30-39%.

Germany, Russia, South Africa, and India each reported between 20-29%.

Belgium, Morocco, Pakistan, and China (19%) are the only surveyed nations with 10-19% of the population listening to podcasts.

And in Japan, just 5% of the population listens to podcasts.

Source: Statista

US Podcast Listeners

In total, 38% of Americans have listened to a podcast within the last month. And 26% have listened in the last week.

The number of US podcast listeners has increased year-over-year since 2013, reaching an estimated 140 million.

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That figure is expected to grow further to 163 million in 2023.

Here’s a look at the growing podcast audience in the US over time:

Year Monthly US Listeners Increase Over Previous Year
2013 32 million -
2014 40 million 8 million
2015 46 million 6 million
2016 57 million 11 million
2017 65 million 8 million
2018 75 million 10 million
2019* 88 million 13 million
2020* 103 million 15 million
2021* 120 million 17 million
2022* 140 million 20 million
2023* 164 million 24 million

*Projected figure

And here’s a look at the proportion of Americans listening to podcasts on a weekly basis over time:

Year Proportion of Weekly Listeners Change Over Previous Year
2013 7% -
2014 8% ↑ 1%
2015 10% ↑ 2%
2016 13% ↑ 3%
2017 15% ↑ 2%
2018 17% ↑ 2%
2019 22% ↑ 5%
2020 24% ↑ 2%
2021 28% ↑ 4%
2022 26% ↓ 2%

Podcasting has come a long way in a relatively short period of time. Awareness of the medium has rocketed in the US during the last decade and a half.

In fact, as of 2016, the majority of US consumers (55%) were aware of podcasts. That’s more than double the figure (22%) 10 years earlier.

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Today, around 4 in 5 (79%) Americans are aware of podcasts.

This is how awareness of podcasting has changed over time in the US:

Year Percentage Aware Change Over Previous Year Percentage Who Have Ever Listened Change Over Previous Year
2006 22% - 11% -
2007 37% ↑ 15% 13% ↑ 2%
2008 37% - 0% 18% ↑ 6%
2009 43% ↑ 6% 22% ↑ 4%
2010 45% ↑ 2% 23% ↑ 1%
2011 45% - 0% 25% ↑ 2%
2012 46% ↑ 1% 29% ↑ 4%
2013 46% - 0% 27% ↓ 2%
2014 48% ↑ 2% 30% ↑ 3%
2015 49% ↑ 1% 33% ↑ 3%
2016 55% ↑ 6% 36% ↑ 3%
2017 60% ↑ 5% 40% ↑ 4%
2018 64% ↑ 4% 44% ↑ 4%
2019 70% ↑ 6% 51% ↑ 7%
2020 75% ↑ 5% 55% ↑ 4%
2021 78% ↑ 3% 57% ↑ 4%
2022 79% ↑ 1% 62% ↑ 5%

Sources: Activate, Triton Digital, The Infinite Dial

US Podcast Listener Preferences

Podcast listeners have so many choices these days. As of October 2022, there are an estimated 3,997,627 podcasts.

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Here’s a breakdown of how often shows are being published:

Time Period Number of Published Podcast Shows
Last 3 Days 105,580
Last 10 Days 244,749
Last 30 Days 358,444
Last 60 Days 430,772
Last 90 Days 481,803

With so many choices, the average American gets through 8 podcast episodes every week.

Although, the number of episodes listened to per week is fairly evenly distributed among listeners:

Number of Episodes Listened to in Last Week Share of Podcast Listeners
1 14%
2 18%
3 13%
4 or 5 21%
6 to 10 16%
11+ 18%

Podcast Platform Usage

For many, Spotify and Apple Podcasts are the podcast platforms of choice.

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In total, 1 in 4 podcast listeners use Spotify for podcast listening. While 1 in 5 use Apple Podcasts.

Here’s a breakdown of 2020’s top platforms by US listeners:

Podcast Platform Share of US Listeners
Spotify 25%
Apple Podcasts 20%
Google Podcasts 16%
Pandora 15%
Website (stream) 11%
Audible 10%
NPR One 9%
Tune In 8%
Deezer 7%
Podcast Addict 7%
Radio Public 6%
Stitcher 6%
Overcast 6%
Pocket Casts 6%
CastBox 5%

And as of February 2022, Spotify has 32.5 million US listeners. Compared to Apple’s 28.5 million.

By 2025, the gap is set to widen further as Spotify hits 42.4 million. And Apple steadily grows to 29.2 million.

Here’s a comparison between the two podcasting giants over time:

Year US Spotify Listeners US Apple Podcast Listeners Difference
2020 19.9 million 27.8 million +7.9 million (Apple)
2021 28.3 million 28.1 million +0.2 million (Spotify)
2022 32.5 million 28.5 million +4 million (Spotify)
2023 36.3 million 28.8 million +7.5 million (Spotify)
2024 40 million 29 million +11 million (Spotify)
2025 42.4 million 29.2 million +13.2 million (Spotify)

As for podcast publishers, iHeartRadio is top of the tree with over 34 million unique monthly listeners. That’s almost 50% more than second-placed Wondery (22.73 million).

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Below are the top 10 podcast publishers by US unique monthly listeners (September 2022):

Rank Publisher US Listeners Global Streams Active Shows
1 iHeartRadio 34.24 million 455.41 million 708
2 Wondery 22.73 million 176.83 million 204
3 NPR 19.07 million 165.84 million 49
4 New York Times 12.45 million 150.17 million 12
5 NBC News 9.11 million 62.78 million 61
6 The Walt Disney Company 8.67 million 51.41 million 116
7 DailyWire+ 8.25 million 81.8 million 13
8 Barstool Sports 7.07 million 41.28 million 96
9 PodcastOne 6.77 million 39.85 million 159
10 PRX 6.07 million 63.2 million 103

In-Car Podcast Listening

In-car podcast listening is on the rise. Approximately 32% of 18+ year-olds listen to a podcast in a car each month. That’s risen from 28% in 2020 and 30% in 2021.

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However, podcasting has a very long way to go if it is to catch up with traditional radio listening on car journeys.

Here’s the full data for car listening habits over time:

Audio Source 2020 Share 2021 Share 2022 Share 2-Year Change
AM/FM Radio 81% 75% 73% ↓ 8%
Owned Digital Music 48% 48% 53% ↑ 5%
CD Player 41% 35% 35% ↓ 6%
Online Audio 33% 33% 32% ↓ 1%
Podcasts 28% 30% 32% ↑ 4%
SiriusXM 24% 21% 22% ↓ 2%

Data from Q4 2021 shows that 20% of weekly podcast listeners do so while in a car. Yet that’s still almost 3x less than those who listen at home (59%).

The most common device for podcast listening is a smartphone (73%). That’s significantly higher than a desktop/laptop (13%).

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In total, podcasts make up around 5% of all audio listening among US Americans.

Sources: eMarketer, eMarketer, Podtrac, The Infinite Dial

Podcast Listeners Demographics

Almost two thirds (62%) of US 12+ year-olds have ever listened to a podcast. That accounts for around 177 million people.

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More than half of those listeners tune in to a podcast each month. That’s 38% of the population - a slight increase from 37% in 2020.

However, more significant growth is evident in the 35-54 age bracket, in which 43% are now monthly listeners - up 4% since 2021.

But that figure still lags behind the 12 to 34-year-old’s 50% podcast listenership.

Here’s the recent data for share of US podcast listeners by age:

Year Age 12-34 Share Age 35-54 Share Age 55+ Share Average Share
2019 42% 36% 17% 32%
2020 49% 40% 22% 37%
2021 56% 39% 26% 40%
2022 50% 43% 22% 38%
4-Year Average 49% 40% 22% 37%

Of all podcast listeners, almost half (47%) are aged 12-34 years. 33% are 35 to 54-years-old. And the remaining 20% are aged 55+ years.

In terms of gender, men are more frequent podcast listeners, but not by much.

Here are the figures:

Year Share of Men Share of Women Difference
2019 36% 29% +7% (Men)
2020 39% 36% +3% (Men)
2021 43% 39% +4% (Men)
2022 41% 36% +5% (Men)

Split by gender, the majority of podcast listeners are male (53%). Female listeners make up 46%. And non-binary/other account for 1%.

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In terms of ethnicity, podcasting has become a great deal more diverse over the last decade. The ethnic makeup of podcast listeners in the US now closely mirrors the country’s population:

Ethnicity Share of Podcast Listeners Share of US Population
2012 2017 2022
White 68% 66% 59% 59%
African-American 14% 12% 16% 14%
Hispanic 10% 11% 16% 17%
Asian 3% 4% 3% 3%
Other 5% 7% 6% 6%
Estimated Listeners 36 million 67 million 109 million

Source: The Infinite Dial

Conclusion

Despite being decades old, the podcast medium continues to see consistent growth.

An ever-expanding audience, combined with a sea of growing podcasting options is testament to this.

And the industry looks set to continue its expansion across different regions and demographics in the years ahead.