Podcast awareness and listening continue to rise in the United States, driven by an explosion in new podcast programming, and consumer adoption of “smart speakers” like Amazon Echo and Google Home devices.
This study is now in its 22nd year and is widely regarded as the finest research on audio habits and podcasting available anywhere. I strongly encourage you to download the entire study (no cost) as it contains substantially more insights than I’ve summarized here.
Note that this research surveyed Americans 12 years of age and older.
75% of Americans are Now Familiar with Podcasting
This is approximately 212 million people and an increase of more than 10 million in one year.
55% of Americans Have Listened to a Podcast
This is up from 51% in 2019 and indicates that roughly three-quarters of the people who are familiar with podcasts have actually listened to one.
Podcast Listeners Have Grown 37.5% in 3 Years
In 2017, 40% of Americans 12 or older had listened to a podcast, compared to 55% in 2020.
37% of Americans Listen to Podcasts Monthly
In 2020, for the first time, more than 100 million Americans listen to at least one podcast each month.
Monthly Podcast Listeners Have Grown 54% in 3 Years
In 2017, 24% of Americans 12 or older listened to podcasts monthly, compared to 37% in 2020.
Half of Americans Ages 12-34 Listen to Podcasts Monthly
As of 2020, 49% of all Americans, 12-34, listen to at least one podcast per month, compared to 42% in 2019.
Monthly Podcast Listening Growing Fastest Among Older Americans
From 2019 to 2020, the percentage of Americans ages 55+ who listen to podcasts monthly increased by 29%. At present, nearly one-quarter of all 55+ consumers in the United States are listening to podcasts month.
Each Week, More Americans Listen to Podcasts Than Go to Church
In 2020, for the first time, a larger percentage of American consumers listened to podcasts weekly than attended church or religious services weekly: 24% to 23%. 68 million Americans are weekly podcast listeners.
In 2020, for the first time, a larger percentage of American consumers listened to podcasts weekly than attended church or religious services weekly: 24% to 23%. 68 million Americans are weekly podcast listeners. Click To Tweet
Podcasting’s Share of Time Continues to Grow
Among Americans who listen to podcasts at least weekly, the average amount of time spent per week listening grew in 2020 to 6 hours, 39 minutes.
Weekly Podcast Listeners Tune in an Average of 6 Podcasts per Week
On average, podcast fans listen to 6 podcasts during the course of a week. This average is skewed somewhat, however, by hard-core podcast devotees. 51% of weekly podcast listeners consume 1-3 podcasts per week, but 12% listen to 11 or more podcasts!
76 million Americans Now Have “Smart Speakers” in Their Homes
Led by Amazon, growth in smart speaker ownership has been significant. 21% of Americans own Amazon Echo (Alexa) device, as of 2020. And smart speaker ownership overall increased by 17% between 2019 and 2020. This increase in smart speakers is giving owners more opportunities to listen to podcasts at home.
Podcast listening is continuing to soar. These 2020 podcast statistics demonstrated that we are not yet at “peak podcast”, at least in terms of consumption. Please do download all of The Infinite Dial from Edison Research and Triton Digital, as there are many more statistics and charts worth your attention.
For 2019 podcast statistics, see our post, The Critical Podcast Statistics of 2019.