Chart of the top reasons people listen to podcasts

Why Are Podcasts So Popular?

An estimated 109.1 million people in the United States are expected to be active podcast listeners in 2024, 5.3% more than the previous year. Advertising revenues from podcasts are also set to increase, from $2.3 billion to $3.2 billion, surpassing $3 billion for the first time.

But why are podcasts so popular and why do people listen to podcasts so much? Here’s a close look at the primary reasons people tune in to them for a better understanding of the growing phenomenon.

Why do people listen to podcasts: top three reasons

According to a recent study on why podcasts are so popular among US adults, three out of every five listeners (60%) surveyed say they tune in to podcasts “for entertainment,” citing it as a major motivation. This makes entertainment the primary reason people listen to podcasts. Another 27% say that, while they tune in to podcasts to be entertained, it constitutes only a “minor” driving force.

Another reason people listen to podcasts is to learn. As many as 55% of Americans list it as a primary reason to tune in, with another 33% saying it’s a “minor” reason. Incidentally, learning new things and staying entertained also rank among the top reasons people use the internet.

This is followed by wanting to multitask—more than half (52%) of podcast listeners say they do so to “have something to listen to while doing something else.”

Why do people like podcasts: fourth- to sixth-biggest reasons

The fourth-most popular reason people listen to podcasts is to gain different perspectives on issues—30% of listeners say hearing other people’s opinions is a “major” reason they tune in. 

The ability to keep up to date with the latest news and current events is also what attracts people to listen to podcasts, with 29% citing it as a reason they do so. It’s worth noting that of the podcast listeners who receive news updates through podcasts, 87% expect them to be “mostly accurate.”

Getting encouragement or inspiration wraps up the top six reasons US consumers tune in to podcasts. Just over one-quarter (27%) of listeners say it’s a “major” reason they listen to podcasts. In fact, the same study shows that more than one-third (36%) of podcast listeners have attempted a lifestyle change after getting inspired by a podcast they’ve listened to.

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