With over two million active podcasts worldwide, there’s no question the medium has become increasingly popular among consumers and a great way for businesses to reach their target audience

Before you jump straight into starting a podcast, you need to get a good lay of the land, beginning with knowing how many people listen to podcasts.

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Growth in the popularity of podcasts worldwide

Over the past two decades or so since the very first podcast was launched, their popularity has surged, especially in the last five years.

According to the latest podcast statistics, the number of listeners worldwide (defined as internet users who tune into podcasts at least once a month) is expected to be 504.9 million this year. This is an 8.6% increase from the previous year and represents 23.5% of all internet users. In other words, nearly one out of every four people using the internet this year is also a podcast listener. It’s also the first time the number of people listening to podcasts is set to surpass half a billion.

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The number of podcast listeners has been increasing rapidly over the past few years. In 2019, there were just 274.8 million worldwide, accounting for 14.4% of global internet users. This number grew by 20.9%, to 332.2 million in 2020, before rising another 18.7% in 2021, to 383.7 million. In 2022, it added another 10.6% to hit 424.2 million (representing 20.3% of all internet users). A year later, a 9.6% increase brought the total number of podcast listeners worldwide to 464.7 million.

How many people listen to podcasts: rising trend

Looking ahead, the popularity of podcasts is expected to continue rising, albeit at a slower rate. In fact, experts’ projections put the value of the podcasting industry at $94.9 billion by 2028.

These podcast statistics show that from 2019 to 2024, the number of podcast listeners is set to increase by 83.7%, at an average annual growth rate of 15.2%. The fastest growth came in 2019, when the number of listeners increased by 22.6%, and the slowest growth is expected in 2024.

Industry analysts attribute the growth of the popularity of podcasts to an increasing number of podcast shows being started, greater involvement from celebrities, larger investments from music streaming companies like Spotify, and increased awareness of podcasts, made possible by improved accessibility.

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