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Podcasting Rebounds, With Largest Growth Coming from 35-54 Demographic.

Worries about podcast listening leveling off have been laid to rest by the 2023 Infinite Dial study. After taking a small but surprising downturn last year, monthly and weekly podcast listening bounced back this year. “After a one-year pause, podcasting’s numbers are up across the board,” Edison VP of Research Megan Lazovick said during a Thursday webinar.

Podcasting increased its monthly reach to 42% of Americans ages 12+ after declining to 38% last year. That put its penetration slightly above 2021 levels, before the unexpected 2022 decline.

In 2023, the overwhelming majority of Americans (83%) know what a podcast is — about 237 million people. In 2023, 64% said they’ve listened to a podcast. That’s an estimated 183 million people.

Monthly podcast listeners 12-34 jumped to 55% this year, back to where it was two years ago before the 2022 decline. But the largest and most consistent growth has occurred among those 35-54. This demo has now passed the halfway point, with 51% reporting being a monthly listener. That’s an eight-point increase in the last year.

The podcast portrait is less rosy looking at Americans 55+. Monthly listening for this demo peaked at 26% in 2021, and has fallen ever since, declining to 21% in 2023. “There is certainly great content out there for this generation,” Lazovick said. The question is how do we get them to listen?”

The good news for the podcast industry is that weekly podcast listening numbers rose sharply in 2023 to 31% of the 12+ population. That means almost one third of the U.S. (an estimated 89 million people) is now weekly podcast consumers. Weekly podcast listeners consumed an average of nine podcast episodes in the last week, up from eight in 2022.

And more people are listening to podcasts in the car. Nearly four in ten U.S. adults age 18+ (38%) who have ridden in a car in the last month say they listened to podcasts, up from 32% in 2022. However, podcast listening is still stagnant among those 55+, with just 14% telling Edison’s researchers they listened to a podcast in the last week, flat from 2022.

The Infinite Dial 2023 was conducted via a national telephone survey of 1,500 people 12+ using random digit dialing techniques to cell phones and landlines. The survey was offered in English and Spanish with data weighted to national 12+ U.S. population figures.

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