As of the end of 2023, there were 464.7 million global podcast listeners. By the end of 2024, there will be 504.9 million.
If there was ever a time to invest in podcasting, it’s now–especially for brands. The podcast marketing scene is about to get a lot more competitive with more large companies vying for space.
To give you insight into the average podcast audience and help you decide if podcasting is a worthy channel investment for your brand, we’ve rounded up our top podcast trends and predictions for 2024:
- The total number of podcast listeners continues to grow
- 39% of Americans listen to a podcast every week
- Marketers doubled their podcast advertising spend from 2019 to 2023
- Gen Z is the fastest growing demographic of podcast listeners
- Women are (still) waiting for more women-hosted shows
- Podcast listeners are increasingly affluent and educated
- Listeners really don’t have a problem with podcast ads
- 20-40 minutes is still the most popular podcast episode length
- B2B podcasts are a quickly rising genre
- Podcast listeners are usually multitasking or on the go
- Video podcasts could soon become the default
- Brands are increasingly looking to invest in podcasts
Let’s take a closer look at each of these trends and unpack how they’ll impact the podcasting landscape this year.
1. The total number of podcast listeners continues to grow
Over the last decade and a half, podcasts have grown from a niche medium to an incredibly popular resource for entertainment and education. In 2023 in the U.S. alone, an estimated 248 million people listened to podcasts. This number is predicted to reach 254 million by 2027.
While these numbers are high, to see the whole story, we need to look at the behavior of regular listeners–people who tune in to podcasts at least once a week.
2. 39% of Americans listen to a podcast every week
In 2023, 42% of Americans between the ages of 12 and 54 listened to at least one podcast in the last month. 39% listen weekly, and on average, those weekly listeners average nine podcast episodes a week.
And with all that listenership comes a lot of earning potential.
3. Marketers doubled their podcast advertising spend from 2019 to 2023
While the podcast advertising market currently only accounts for 3.7% of marketing budgets, that spending doubled between 2019 and 2023 and is continuing to rise. And that investment is paying off. Podcasting has become incredibly lucrative for brands and creators alike. The podcasting industry surpassed a billion dollars in annual ad revenue. Spotify takes a large share of that pie, predicting their ad revenue to reach $414 million in 2024.
4. Gen Z is the fastest growing demographic of podcast listeners
Podcasts are most popular with younger listeners, with 55% of 12-34 year olds listening monthly. They’re also the fastest growing group of listeners. Gen Z listenership increased by 58% during the first half of 2023 alone, according to a trend report from Spotify UK.
While there’s some growth in listenership among 35-54 year olds (up 11% from 2020), only 21% of Americans aged 55 and older listen to podcasts monthly.
5. Women are (still) waiting for more women-hosted shows
There are slightly more male podcast listeners than female listeners with women making up 46% of monthly podcast listeners and men making up 53%. The remaining 1% of regular podcast listeners are nonbinary or declined to disclose their gender.
This slight male majority in listeners may be explained by the overwhelming male majority in podcast creators. While women account for nearly half of podcast listeners, they’re underrepresented as podcast hosts. Only one-third of top podcasts are hosted by women.
The untapped potential in female listeners is made even more apparent when we look at women’s listening habits compared to men’s. 90% of women listen to at least one female-produced or hosted podcast monthly. 55% of female listeners said they would listen to more podcasts if there were more podcasts that included female stories and perspectives while 52% said they would listen more if there were more podcasts hosted by women.
Female hosted podcasts also performed better among female listeners when it came to ad results.
48% of women reported that they would feel more favorably about a brand that advertises on podcasts produced or hosted by women. Women are also more likely to consider a brand, recommend a brand to others, purchase from a brand, and even spend more on a brand compared to comparable products or brands if that brand advertises on female-owned podcasts.
6. Podcast listeners are increasingly affluent and educated
There’s an association between higher income and podcast listenership.
A Statista report found that the average podcast listeners tend to have higher household incomes than the general population. 51% of monthly podcast listeners in the US have an annual household income of at least $75,000, compared to just 38% of the total population.
Podcast listeners also tend to be more highly educated. The same Statista report shows that 61% of monthly listeners have at least a four-year college degree, compared to 44% of the general population.
7. Listeners really don’t have a problem with podcast ads
Due to their listening habits, podcast fans are often seen as more engaged with current events, interested in self-improvement, and open to new experiences. These characteristics might align with higher purchase power and intent, along with a willingness to spend on premium audio content, like subscriptions, and merchandise.
This is supported by data from Statista showing that the majority of listeners feel positively about podcast ads, describing them as “engaging, relevant, and memorable.” 40% of listeners said they go out of their way to support brands that advertise on their favorite shows and 60% said they’ve purchased from a podcast ad in the past.
There is a limit to how many ads your listeners will sit through. Listeners reportedly find 3 ads in a 30-minute episode appropriate, but only 4 ads for a 60-minute episode.
8. 20-40 minutes is still the most popular podcast episode length
While the exact sweet spot will depend on your specific audience, the most common podcast episode length is between 20 and 40 minutes–and has been since 2021. Only 16% of podcasts publish episodes over an hour in length.
Interestingly, 39% of Gen Z listeners report listening to podcasts at an accelerated playback rate.
9. B2B podcasts are a quickly rising genre
According to Edison Research, the top 5 podcast genres at the beginning of last year were: Comedy, Society & Culture, News, True Crime, and Sports. Coming in just after Sports, however, was Business, which supports the rising influence of B2B and branded podcasts. In fact, 43% of decision makers at B2B companies listen to podcasts for business related content, news, and recommendations.
While a lot of podcast listening is still centered around individual creators or personalities, there’s a major opportunity here for brands producing entertaining or educational shows. According to recent podcast statistics from the BBC, branded podcasts increase:
- Awareness by 89%
- Brand consideration by 57%
- Brand favorability by 24%
- Purchase intent by 14%
- Brand recall by 12%
- And engagement by 16%
10. Podcast listeners are usually multitasking or on the go
The overwhelming majority of people are listening to podcasts using a mobile device: 63.1% of people listen on iPhones and 19.6% on Android phones. Computers account for less than 10% of listening devices.
Considering most podcast fans are partial to on-the-go listening, that makes sense.
94% of podcast listeners say that they listen to podcasts while performing some other task. The most commonly cited tasks were doing chores at home (61%) and driving (55%) with exercising, shopping, and running errands following close behind.
There’s also evidence that engaging in some activity while listening to podcasts actually increases brand impact for the listener. This same research from the BBC shows that the active listeners scored higher across the board when measuring engagement (+18%), emotional intensity (+40%), and long term memory of the podcast (+22%).
11. Video podcasts could soon become the default
As podcast listening continues to grow in popularity, we’re also seeing a rise in a newer podcasting format: video podcasts. 32% of all Americans prefer video podcasts to audio-only. For younger audiences, this number jumps to 42% (Gen Z) and 43% (Millennials).
Video podcasts increase reach, allowing your podcast content to live on more platforms than just Apple or Spotify–especially with the popularity of podcast clips across social media channels. They also increase engagement. In fact, the number one reason podcast fans say they prefer video to audio podcasts is to see the facial expressions and reactions from the hosts and guests.
This is supported by YouTube’s own podcast data showing that 80% of top-watched podcast episodes on their platform feature the hosts on video. In fact, YouTube has emerged as one of the top podcasting platforms with the recent rise of video podcasting.
12. Brands are increasingly looking to invest in podcasts
We also expect to see a rise in B2B and branded podcasting. In 2023, many brands tested out podcasting as a marketing channel. In fact, one media agency reported a 60% increase in brands investing in podcasts, a trend which will likely continue into 2024.
This interest in podcasting as a marketing channel is part of the same trend that is causing marketers to focus on creator and SME driven content. Faceless branded content isn’t enough anymore. Instead, smart brands are leveraging in-house talent and outside influencers to be the faces and ambassadors of their brands.
Another reason brands are investing: Podcasts are a valuable anchor medium that you can repurpose for other platforms. Not only do podcast clips perform well on social media, you can also transcribe your podcast and turn it into a blog post, text thread, or newsletter.
What’s coming next in podcast trends?
We expect to see these trends develop and evolve in 2024.
The podcast market is very much still in its growth era, with both revenue and listenership projected to continue rising in the coming years. Podcasts are definitely a medium worth exploring, especially if you’re willing to invest in video.Create content faster with Kapwing's online video editor →