More than a third of Americans now listen to podcasts monthly

by | Apr 20, 2020 | Public Relations

New research from Edison Research and Triton Digital finds that podcasting awareness and consumption in the U.S. continue to rise—and could spike significantly as Americans continue to adjust to remote and often solitary lifestyles during the COVID crisis.

Three out of every four (75 percent) Americans age 12+ (approximately 212 million people) are now familiar with podcasting, up from 70 percent in 2019—and 37 percent (104 million) listen monthly, up from 32 percent in 2019. This continues the growth trend that researchers have measured since 2009.

“Podcasts now reach over 100 million Americans every month, and are attracting an increasingly diverse audience,” said Tom Webster, SVP of Edison Research, in a news release. “Also, with 62 percent of Americans now saying they have used some kind of voice assistance technology, audio is becoming a bigger part of our everyday lives.”

In addition, the Infinite Dial 2020 report found that 62 percent of those in the U.S. age 12+ use voice-operated assistants, and 45 percent of those in the U.S. age 12+ have listened to audio in a car through a cell phone. This year’s study also continues the legacy of measuring developing technologies, with the finding that 18 percent of Americans age 18+ own a car with an in-dash information and entertainment system.

“We are proud to once again unveil the latest insights and trends around media usage and consumption in the U.S.,” said John Rosso, president of Market Development at Triton Digital, in the release. “The study findings provide Advertisers and the industry at large with valuable insight into the ongoing evolution of devices, content, and formats that Americans use to consume news and entertainment.”

Other findings include:

  • Growth in smart speaker ownership as a result of multiple devices in households. In 2020, smart speaker households owned an average of 2.2 of the devices, up from an average of 1.7 just two years ago.
  • Fully 39 percent of men and 36 percent of women age 12+ in the U.S. are monthly podcast listeners, which is more balanced than the 36 percent of men and 29 percent of women who were monthly listeners in the 2019 study.
  • Thirty-two percent of those in the U.S. age 12-34 use Facebook most often, down from 58 percent five years ago. Twenty-seven percent of those in the U.S. age 12-34 use Instagram most often, up from 15 percent five years ago.

This research dates back 22 years, covering consumer usage of media and technology while also tracking new mediums as they develop. This current report provides the most up-to-date research in the U.S. digital audio and podcast consumption, in addition to mobile, smart speaker, and social media usage.

Watch the Infinite Dial webinar with Webster and Rosso here.

The study uses the gold standard of nationally representative survey research—a random probability telephone sample comprised of both mobile phones and landlines—of all Americans ages 12 and older.

Richard Carufel
Richard Carufel is editor of Bulldog Reporter and the Daily ’Dog, one of the web’s leading sources of PR and marketing communications news and opinions. He has been reporting on the PR and communications industry for over 17 years, and has interviewed hundreds of journalists and PR industry leaders. Reach him at richard.carufel@bulldogreporter.com; @BulldogReporter


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