Infinite Dial: Podcasting shows continued growth … and still plenty of upside

The “early innings” meme expressed by many leaders of podcast publishing and advertising appears proved out in the 2021 edition of The Infinite Dial 2021. In weekly listening, which indicates podcast listening as a steady aspect of audio lifestyle, went up from 24% to 28% — a 17% increase. That’s impressive growth. At the same time, 28% (which Infinite Dial estimates to represent 80-million 12+ Americans) leaves room for 72% more uptake.

More than three-quarters of 12+ Americans expressed a familiarity with podcasting, whether they listen or not. (An estimated 222-million people.) That metric edges up from 75% last year. The Infinite Dial has been asking this question since 2006, when there was 22% familiarity — that number jumped hugely to 37% in 2007, the biggest single-year increase during the entire 15-year run.

Fifty-seven percent of Americans (162-million people) have listened to a podcast ever, a slight gain from 55% last year. Monthly listening sits at 41% (116-million), up from 37%. More men listen than women, as has been the case for at least four years.

The age breakdown of monthly podcast  listening is interesting. Note the surging growth in the youngest set, while the middle-age cohort is stable. Older listeners are flocking into it, perhaps indicating that as people age out of the 35-54 bracket they take their podcast listening with them into the older group.

Here is a 10-year span of measurement showing the same trend:

The Infinite Dial also examines the ethnicity of monthly podcast listeners: Mainly white, but with a reducing percentage of all monthly listeners over 10 years. Balancing that, Hispanic and “Other” groups are growing. (But note the reduction for African Americans.)


Brad Hill