Podcast Statistics 2021: How Podcasting Performed (Facts and Infographics)

This piece will be about a five-minute read, and you are probably going to jump to the podcast statistics 2021 and the infographics. However, if it was to be read by, let’s say Morgan Freeman, or Drew Ackerman of Sleep With Me, you will likely listen to the end and even bookmark it for the next episode. This is the USP of podcasts and the reason for their exponential growth.

We all saw how monumental the year 2020 was for podcasting; there were more podcasters, listeners, and even advertisers than ever. At the beginning of 2021, the prediction was that podcasting would continue its rise as a mainstream content medium. This is the end of the year, and this prediction isn’t far from the reality as you’ll see with the Podcasting 2021 Facts, Statistics and Infographics.

As the year draws to a close, we must track the growth of the podcast industry. This knowledge of the podcast statistics of 2021 will help you make informed decisions as a podcaster in 2022 and beyond.

However, a lot of numbers and data flying about within the industry, that’s why Disctopia’s Podcast Statistics 2021 will draw insights from the annual reports of Edison Research, Pew Research, Nielsen, Statistica and Triton Digital.

If you are yet to get started, you can take a cue from our 15-Step Guide on How to Start a Podcast. This will be beyond the usual question of how many podcasts are out there, but we’ll start from the basics.

1. What’s The Worth of The Podcasting Industry in 2021? 

Podcasting has grown into a billion-dollar industry. The industry grew in advertising revenue from $36.1 million in 2016 to $842 million in 2020. For 2021, the Interactive Advertising Bureau estimated that podcast advertising revenue would exceed $1 billion.

Insider Intelligence placed the figure at $1.33 billion for 2021. By 2025, this figure is expected to have doubled to about $2.74 billion.

2. How Many Podcasts Are There? 

Podcasts are experiencing rapid growth, even outside of the United States. Numerous reports are detailing the explosion the medium is experiencing.

As of 2021, there are about 2 million active podcasts, with over 48 million episodes. In 2020, there were about 700,000 podcasts, and the number is set to even go higher in 2022.

3. Who Listens to Podcasts? 

The number of podcast listeners has been rising for the past 15 years. In 2021, global listenership rose to 383.7 million. The United States leads in podcast listeners with about 118 million; 85.5 million in China, and 39.2 million in Brazil.

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About 40% of the US population currently listens to a podcast every month. Today, about 78% of the US population have heard the term “podcasting.”

In the beginning, podcasts were a white people’s thing, but right now, there’s a shift. Although Whites still dominate the listenership at 58%, Latino; 16%, African American; 13%, Asians; 4%, while 10% identify as others.

4. Where Do People Listen to Podcasts?

Several studies have established that people listen to podcasts usually on their commute to work. It is either when they are driving to work or on a bus to work.

However, Edison Research revealed that 65% of podcast listeners use portable devices such as smartphones and tablets.

5. What’s the Most Popular Podcast Topic/Genre of 2021? 

The leading podcast topic of 2019 was music with about 61.1 million Americans. As for 2020, it shifted to comedy as a preferred podcast genre.

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This leads us to the top podcasts based on the number of listeners;

  • The Joe Rogan Experience
  • The Daily
  • Crime Junkie
  • This American Life
  • Stuff You Should Know
  • My Favorite Murder
  • Pod Save America
  • Office Ladies
  • Serial
  • The Ben Shapiro Show

6. How Do People Find New Podcasts?

With over 2 million active podcasts out there, you need to place your podcasts where people are looking.

As a podcaster, here’s where people look for new podcasts. We’ll rely on the opinion of Neil Patel for this one, and here’s where he pointed us;

  • Google Search
  • Search bar of popular podcast hosts
  • Discovery tools
  • Social media
  • Recommendations by family and friends

7. The Most Popular Podcast Directories of 2021

Podcasters are always interested in the top podcast directories to list their shows. The strength of podcast directories is that it helps podcast listeners find new content. You can also read about how to submit to podcast directories.

Here are the top 10 podcast directories of 2021;

  • Apple Podcasts
  • Spotify
  • Google Podcasts
  • Stitcher
  • Amazon Music and Audible
  • iHeartRadio
  • Listen Notes
  • Podcast Index
  • TuneIn
  • Pandora

8. Why Do People Listen to Podcasts? 

There must be a motivation behind the speed at which podcast listenership is growing. There’s a magical feeling behind an authentic dialogue that podcasts offer for many people. This was the response of Christopher Lochhead, who thinks podcasts are just unique.

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Outside of this, there’s more. Edison Research pointed out that 74% of podcast listeners are in it to learn new things, another 71% want to be entertained, while 60% is about staying up to date with the latest topics.

9. What’s the Average Podcast Episode Length and Frequency? 

This podcast statistics isn’t about telling you how long your podcast episode should be, but you can take a cue from it. However, according to Statista, the average podcast length is between 25 t0 30 minutes.

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10. How Many Podcasts Are Profitable?

The baseline for a podcast to be considered profitable starts at 5k average downloads. According to Lime, 99% of all podcasts are not profitable. The 1% that are considered profitable do about 37K downloads per episode.

It is said that advertisers are likely never going to work with a show with less than 40,000 downloads per episode.