New Demographic Research Shows Who Really Listens to Podcasts

New Demographic Research Shows Who Really Listens to Podcasts

Edison Research has just about cornered the market on podcast research and podcast statistics, and their new report, The Podcast Consumer 2017, continues the trend with a deep-dive into the demographics of American podcast listeners.

In January and February of 2017, Edison surveyed 2,000 people ages 12 and older about their audio and social media habits.

I absolutely encourage you to grab the full report (no cost) here. Meanwhile, here are the findings I found most interesting.

60 Percent of Americans Are Familiar with the Term ‘Podcasting’

The Podcast Consumer 2017I could argue the impact of this finding both ways. On one hand, 60 percent of America is a LOT of people. Conversely, if podcasting is going to get to the next level of penetration and success, the fact that four in 10 people have never even heard of it is an obstacle.

40 Percent of Americans Have Listened to a Podcast

I believe this finding to be a good sign for podcasting, as it means that two-thirds of the people who have heard of podcasts (see above) have actually listened to a podcast. That strikes me as a modestly strong ratio of awareness-to-trial. By way of a totally unfair, straw man example, two-thirds of Americans have tried sushi, and I presume awareness of the concept of sushi hovers around 100 percent.

56 Percent of Podcast Listeners Are Men

Is it because they have more listening windows? Is it the topics of podcasts? The reason has yet to be discerned, but among the 67 million people who listen to at least one podcast per month, 56 percent identify as men.

84 Percent of Podcast Listeners Are Under Age 55

2017 podcast demographics - age

As I wrote about in “the 11 critical 2017 podcast statistics,” podcast listeners are younger than America as a whole, but the podcast community is no longer dominated by the young.

Recent Podcast Listening Growth Powered by 25 to 54 Year-olds

In the past year, monthly podcast listeners ages 25 to 54 increased 29 percent, with listenership among younger and older Americans staying essentially flat. This may be driven by an expansion in listening devices (in-car, Spotify, Amazon Echo and Google Home) and/or the explosion in podcast options.

45 Percent of Podcast Listeners Have a Household Income of $75,000 or More

Podcast listeners are a relatively affluent group. Compared to America as a whole, monthly podcast listeners are 29 percent more likely to have a HHI of $75,000 or more. Combined with the large ratio of podcast listeners in the coved 25 to 54 demographic, this is why advertisers are starting to seek out podcast sponsorship opportunities.

85 Percent of Podcast Listeners Have Attended College

Podcast listeners are also an educated group, as they are nearly 20 percent more likely to have attended college at some point, compared to the U.S. population as a whole. And among people who have secured a four-year college degree, the difference is even more striking, with podcast listeners 40 percent more likely to have done so.


Public Radio is a Major Engine of Podcast Consumption

This is perhaps not a surprise, as even a cursory glance at top podcast charts will show a wide variety of shows produced by public radio (This American Life, et al.). But the effect these podcasts have on the overall podcast listening community is really quite significant. In fact, among people who listen to public radio podcasts, 55 percent of them subscribe to one or more shows.

Podcast Listeners LOVE Social Media

Americans who listen to podcasts at least monthly use every social media platform more than non-listeners—in some cases, significantly so. For instance, 34 percent of Americans use Instagram, but 48 percent of podcast listeners do so. Twitter sees an even more pronounced effect, with 41 percent of podcast fans using the platform, compared to 23 percent of Americans at-large. Linkedin sees an almost identical pattern, at 39 percent versus 22 percent.

Also, podcast listeners are 23 percent more likely to use social media “several times per day” compared to American social media users who do not listen to podcasts.

Get your copy of the free report: The Podcast Consumer 2017

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