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Podcast listening in general slowing down but Gen Z up 57%

After years of steady double digit percentage growth for podcasting, listenership in general has started to slow, according to recent report from traffic search firm Insider Intelligence. But new data shows strong podcast listening growth among Gen Z. A survey from SXM Media and Edison Research shows 47% of Americans ages 13 to 24 have listened to podcasts within the last month, an increase of 57% to  five years ago, meaning there are now an estimated 24 million Gen Z US  monthly podcast listeners. A survey from Pew Research Center shows 15% of US adults listen to religion-focused podcasts. 

Music giant Spotify is laying off another 200 persons, mainly from the company’s podcasting business, Swedish business paper Dagens Industri reports. Spotify has earlier invested heavily in podcasting.

The Insider Intelligence recent report says that despite slowing general podcast listening, podcast advertising is still growing at double digit rates and companies like Spotify have called the medium a USD 20 billion opportunity.

Podcast listening in key markets like the US and UK will increase but growth in general was no more than 5% and 4.7% respectively last year, according to Insider Intelligence.

The Pew Research survey shows 30% of adults  go online to search for information about religion. 21% use apps or websites to help them read the Bible or other religious scriptures. 14% use apps or websites to help or remind them to pray.

Read Also:  Just one in five of podcast users listen to programs from news organisations

“Not only are Gen Z taking to podcasts in bigger numbers—looking at the share of their audio listening, time spent with podcasts is on the upswing, too”, SXM Media and Edison say. 

“58% of the total time Gen Z spends with spoken-word audio is now spent with podcasts, more than double the 28% it was back in 2018.”

“As Gen Z podcast listening has increased over the years, the demographics of those listeners has seen some shifts. Now 46% of monthly podcast listeners ages 13 to 24 are female, which is up from just 42% in 2018.” 

“Among monthly Gen Z listeners, three in four have listened to a podcast in the past week, and younger listeners ages 13 to 17 are even more engaged—80% have listened in the past week!”

Gen Z listeners also get engrossed in their favorite shows—78% say they often binge-listen to podcasts. 

When it comes to topics and content genres that Gen Z is listening to, comedy leads the way (48%), followed by entertainment/celebrity/gossip (40%) true crime (38%), music (36%) and games/hobbies (35%).

Read Also:  Podcast listening slowing down but double digit ad growth

Thinking about the types of podcasts they’re interested in, Gen Z is looking to hear: 

  • real life stories (94%), 
  • banter or back and forth conversations (92%), 
  • shows that can be binge-listened (91%) 
  • interviews with different guests (90%). 

Over three in four Gen Z listeners say it’s important that the podcasts they listen to have hosts they enjoy, and almost six in 10 say it’s important that podcasts provide them with good tips and advice. 

Over four in 10 think it’s important that podcasts keep them up to date with social issues, offer perspectives and opinions that are different from their own, and include stories and perspectives from people their own age. 

About nine in 10 Gen Z listeners have ever listened to or watched a brief podcast clip on social media platforms like TikTok or Instagram. Among those that have, 73% say that the brief clip led them to listen to or watch the podcast somewhere else. 

Over eight in 10 engage with podcasts through social media, typically by following a host or guest from a podcast, following a podcast show, or even sharing a podcast through social media.

Over 80% of Gen Z listeners say they turn to podcasts to relax and about two in three say they listen to escape. Over half say they listen to help them understand how they’re feeling about something.

43% of Gen Z listeners ages 16 or older have purchased a product after hearing a podcast ad for it, and 44% of listeners ages 13 to 17 have asked someone to buy a product for them after hearing it advertised in a podcast. 

Read Also:  Are podcasts overestimated as platform for news?

More than six in 10 total Gen Z listeners have visited a company’s website after hearing a podcast ad or have wanted a product or service they heard in a podcast ad, and over half have gathered more information about a brand they heard.

The Pew survey finds that most Americans who watch religious services on screens are happy with them. Two-thirds of  adults who regularly stream religious services online or watch them on TV say they are either “extremely satisfied” or “very satisfied” with the services they see.

At the same time, Americans tend to give higher marks to worshipping together in person. While majorities express satisfaction with virtual services, even bigger shares of physical attenders say they feel extremely or very satisfied with the sermons (74%) and music (69%) at the services they attend in person.

The survey also asked about social media usage, including how often respondents post or share content about religion online. Overall, 17% of U.S. adults say they post or share things about religion, including 2% who do this daily.

There is no single reason why virtual religious services appeal to many Americans. When asked why they tune in, regular viewers tend to give multiple answers. But of six possible reasons offered in the survey, the most commonly chosen is convenience. 

More than four-in-ten regular watchers (43%) say convenience is a major reason they watch services on screens. The next most-cited major reason is being able to watch services that are far from their home (34% say this).


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