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.

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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.

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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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