As you may have heard, podcasting is making a comeback and more people are listening to podcasts in the United States than ever before. Maybe you’re looking to start a podcast and want to do some research, or you want to convince your boss that podcasting should be an important part of your marketing strategy. Or maybe you’re just curious why more and more people are attracted to a form of media that doesn’t involve a screen. I’ve been curious myself, so I decided to round up a few key research findings about who is listening to podcasts in 2015.
Overall, an estimated 46 million Americans over the age of 12 now listen to podcasts on a monthly basis. That’s 17% of the 12+ US population, up from 12% in 2013. That’s a lot of people! They listen during their morning commute on the train, in their car while they’re running or at the gym, or while doing household chores.
About 10% of the US population listens to podcasts on a weekly basis. These listeners average about 6 podcasts per week!
There are many ways to listen to podcasts. Some listen on the computer from the podcast’s own website, others download on iTunes, and many listen on their mobile device. Apple’s Podcast app comes automatically with iOS for iPhone. Other podcast phone apps include Stitcher, Tune In, SoundCloud, and iHeartRadio.
Now that you’ve got a picture of how big this market truly is, let’s dig into the demographics of our dear podcast listeners:
They’re Young + Tech Savvy
It shouldn’t come as a surprise that podcast listeners skew young, as you need to be adept at using a smartphone or a computer to listen to a podcast. In general, half of podcast listeners in the US are between 12-34 years old.
Podcast listeners also spend more time online in general than the rest of the US population. Plus, podcast listeners tend to favor the Internet over any other form of media such as TV, radio, or newspapers. This means that whatever marketing you’re doing on these more traditional forms of media is likely not reaching these younger podcast listeners.
They’re Affluent + Educated
Weekly podcast listeners tend to be more educated and have higher incomes when compared to the rest of the population. 24% of Americans with a college degree listen to podcasts weekly compared with the 10% of Americans without a college degree who are listening weekly. And you’re twice as likely to be a weekly podcast listener if you make $ 100K or above than if you make $ 50k or below. In other words, podcast listeners have money to spend on the products and services you are offering.
Also – podcast listeners skew slightly male, with 54% of listeners identifying as that gender.
They’re Social Media Users
Podcast consumers are more plugged-in to social media than the rest of the US population. These are the people who check social media sites multiple times a day – a perfect demographic for the social media marketers out there who are reading this. In fact, 56% of podcast listeners use social media sites at least once a day to several times a day.
They are avid YouTubers when compared the rest of the population, and use deal sites like Groupon much more than the US population as a whole.
Now, let’s paint a picture of the podcast consumer, using the data we’ve gathered above (plus some conjecture from yours truly):
Meet Andrew, a 29-year-old American man who lives in Minneapolis, MN. He makes $ 75K a year and listens to podcasts on a weekly basis. He typically listens to podcasts on his commute to work in his BMW, where he connects his iPhone to his car stereo via bluetooth and streams podcasts on the Stitcher iPhone app.
He has a Facebook profile, a Twitter account, and an Instagram account, all of which he checks at least twice a day. He doesn’t have cable or even own a TV though he watches TV shows occasionally on sites like Hulu. He gets his news from sources like The Huffington Post, Facebook, and Reddit. He has a degree from a four-year private college and is now working at a local law firm before he goes on to get his law degree.
You might know someone like Andrew, or you might see pieces of your own identity in the description of him. Like many Americans from his age group and income bracket, Andrew is tech-savvy and generally averse to most forms of advertising and direct selling. He is keen to use technology to his benefit in all parts of his life, including shopping, recreation, dating, and education. As Andrew moves into his 30s and 40s, he may change careers and spending habits, but he’s addicted to podcasts for life.
I hope this helped you get an idea as to who is listening to podcasts in 2015. I’m always happy to help you start a podcast or answer questions – I look forward to hearing from you in the comments!