What’s the current podcast audience like in the US – and how has it grown over the last 2 years? We conducted research on American podcast listeners in October of 2020 and compared it to previous research from 2018.

Here’s what we learned:

Podcast listening is a regular habit for many. Among 13- to 54-year-olds, 7 in 10 had listened to a podcast in the last year and 6 in 10 had listened in the last three months. Close to 1 in 4 had taken in a podcast in the past day.

The podcast audience is growing fast – especially among teen, Hispanic, and Black listeners. In our 2018 survey, we found that 4 in 10 people 13 to 49 were listening to podcasts – which rose to 6 in 10 within this age group in 2020. The groups of listeners with the largest increases in podcast use were teens, Hispanics, Blacks/African-Americans, and parents.

The pandemic has inspired the rise in podcast listening. Not only did the base of podcast listeners expand, half of those aged 13 to 54 said they were listening more often than the year before. Close to half of those listening to podcasts more said the pandemic had left them with more time to listen. Other reasons for additional listening include good podcasts being easier to find, better quality, more available podcasts, and recommendations from friends or family.

Listeners are spending a lot of time with podcasts. About 8 in 10 listeners aged 13 to 54 said they were spending at least as much time listening than they were the year before. On average, listeners reported spending 7 hours per week taking in podcasts.

Listeners are taking in multiple podcasts across a variety of genres. On average, 13- to 54-year-old listeners took in an average of 7 podcasts in the most recent 3 months. They listened to an average of 5.6 genres, with comedy and music being the most popular.