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Podcast listening grows, with women and middle age Americans

The increase in the number of people listening to podcasts is well-documented, and Edison Research says two-thirds of Americans aged 12 and older have listened to a podcast with a third weekly listeners. But in newly released data, the scale of that new media habit is illuminated in the amount of time people are spending listening to on-demand audio. In the past decade, Edison says the average time spent listening to podcasts has more than quadrupled.

In 2024, podcasts account for 11% of daily time with audio among those age 13 and older. That is up from two percent in 2014. And when looked at among only ad-supported media, podcasts now account for 20% total time spent with audio.

“Podcasts listening represents an even larger piece of this pie at 20% and this is the goal when it comes to audio ad buys. At least 20% of audio buys should be on podcast content,” Edison VP Megan Lazovick said during a presentation of the findings on Thursday.

The report shows nearly a quarter (23%) listen to podcasts for ten hours or more each week. Another 18% listen between five and ten hours, and 21% listen between one and five hours.

“It is clear that mostly weekly podcast listeners simply spend a lot of time with podcasts – only five percent report spending less than an hour a week,” Lazovick said.

The data shows that weekly listeners aged 35 to 54 are most likely to consume ten or more hours per week, but its those aged 55 and older that average the most podcast consumption overall at just over eight hours. That is 17 minutes more than the generation right behind them.

Edison estimates 47% of the U.S. population listens to podcasts monthly, which translates to about 135 million Americans aged 12 and older. And 34% listens weekly, or about 98 million Americans. While listening is growing across all generations, Edison says younger listeners are more loyal to the medium as 59% of those age 12-34 are monthly podcast listeners, and 43% listen weekly.

“This is a demographic group that advertisers are looking to meet where they are, and podcasting delivers them,” Lazovick said.

But there are strong trends among older listeners too. Those aged 55 and older had the biggest jump in monthly podcast listening during the past year. And among those aged 35 to 54, a solid majority now listen each month.

“There's a big story here with that middle generation,” Lazovick said. “The group is now well past that halfway point with 55% of this age group reporting monthly listening, and this group is consistently gaining listeners year over year.”

Edison’s Infinite Dial report found the gender gap among podcast listeners continues to close. The new The Podcast Consumer 2024 study offers a more detailed look at the numbers. It reports the number of U.S. women listening to podcasts has hit a new high as 48% of women are monthly podcast listeners, which is up three points from 2014. And Edison says a third (32%) of women are weekly podcast listeners.

“This is a big part of the story of the podcasts in 2024. The growth in podcast reach is driven by large increases among the number of female listeners,” Lazovick said. “I need not to explain the buying power of this group of Americans and how important they are to advertisers. And those looking to reach women through podcasts will find an eager audience.”

Edison says women average listening to 9.5 episodes in a typical week, compared to 7.2 episodes among male weekly listeners. While women listen to a range of genres, Lazovick pointed out Truce Crime is especially popular.


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