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Podcast statistics – UK 2024: the upward trends and how businesses can benefit!

Podcast statistics - UK 2023: the upward trends and how businesses can benefit! cover

My “Podcast statistics – UK 2024” report will explore the factors driving the UK’s rapid growth in podcasting.

We’ll also look at the opportunities and challenges that businesses face when leveraging podcasts as a marketing tool.

A podcaster checking her podcast statistics in the UK in 2023

 

Photographer: Soundtrap | Source: Unsplash

Podcast Popularity Soars in the UK – with 71% listening!

Podcasts continue to captivate the UK, with two reports (including the recently published MIDAS Autumn 2023 report) shedding light on the latest listening trends. 

Now, sure, global statistics vary, but the UK’s engagement with podcasts showcases continued strength and growth.

Younger demographics, particularly, are driving this growth, with a notable preference for digital and on-demand content.

So, you could argue that we’re witnessing an ’audio renaissance’ fuelled by younger generations.

On top of this, a YouGov poll (that this Statista report alludes to) from 2021 found 71% of the UK population were claiming to be podcast listeners. 

If YouGov isn’t credible enough a source for you, then consider the findings of the recent Autumn 2023 MIDAS report (which is always a little  more conservative as it skews towards radio listening given it uses the same sample base so not entirely accurate for our purposes) shows that 12% of the UK are confirmed dedicated podcast listeners.

This data is as ‘locked in’ with agencies as radio listening is, so it’s a good indication of what platforms ads are being sold on at this time.

Either way, it’s clear that the art of storytelling and knowledge-sharing is thriving in the digital age.

As younger generations lead this renaissance, we can expect to see greater impact on various industries, such as advertising, education, and entertainment.

Sources:

YouGov Global Media Whitepaper (yet to be updated).

Ofcom MIDAS report (Autumn 2023)

How will this trend affect businesses?

A lot of forward thinking organisations are likely to adapt to these new listening habits and invest in podcast advertising to target the younger, highly engaged audience.

This means that very soon podcasts are going to have to become one to the main pillars of marketing content if a company doesn’t want to be ‘caught sleeping’.

 

Photographer: Kenny Eliason | Source: Unsplash

Further podcast listening figures for the UK

Here are some of the headline numbers among the younger audiences:

75% of 18-24-year-olds are podcast listeners.

76% of 25-34-year-olds are podcast listeners.

Delving further into this, and looking at that golden egg of ‘engagement’, we see in the report that people aged 15 to 34 are spending 12% of their audio listening time with podcasts. 

And that’s double the amount of time spent listening by people aged 35-54.

In the UK specifically, podcasts have a weekly reach of 19% among adults, with the highest reach among 25-34-year-olds at 27%.

The gender distribution of podcast listeners is 58% male and 42% female. The number of adult podcast listeners has been steadily growing, reaching 10.5 million in summer 2022.

Podcast listeners in the UK mostly listen alone (94%) and 63% of people listen to more than half of the podcast episodes they download.

They often listen while at home (61%), driving or travelling (13%), or at work (8%).

A majority of podcast listening occurs on smartphones (76%).

About 70% of podcast listeners listen to an entire episode, with peak listening times at 9 am and 5:15 pm.

When compared to other media, live radio has the highest weekly percentage reach at 88%, followed by on-demand music at 32%.

I see this radio and music trend declining, with podcasts quickly catching up as younger audiences and their listening trends continue to mature and reach older age ranges.

Sources:

YouGov Global Media Whitepaper.

Ofcom MIDAS report (summer 2022)

So why this ‘explosive’ podcast growth?

The accessibility of podcasts and the rise of smartphones and high-speed internet have contributed to their phenomenal growth in the UK.

Not to mention the moves from YouTube into the space. 

And let’s face it, all the kids love the YouTube!

Also, the decision by Apple iOS to make the Apple Podcasts app native in all phone operating systems nearly a decade ago has definitely had an effect on the medium’s longevity.

A lot of people started seeing the little purple thumbnail on their home screens, and got curious. That curiosity led to the discovery of compelling podcasts like “Serial”.

 

Photographer: William Hook | Source: Unsplash

People began to realise that podcasts provide an entertaining and educational platform, with a wide range of genres and topics catering to everyone’s interests.

And the fact they’re mostly free isn’t hurting their growth trajectory.

Tapping into the UK’s ‘Podcast Mania’: opportunities for businesses

The growing podcast listenership in the UK presents excellent opportunities for businesses and marketers.

We’ve already discussed how younger audiences being more switched onto them is going to present an irresistible option for brands who want to reach new audiences and customers.

 

Photographer: Alev Takil | Source: Unsplash

Branded podcasts

Businesses can already create branded podcasts to promote their products or services, engage with their customers on a more personal level, and build brand loyalty and trust.

And thousands of them are doing so.

And if you want to go next level, it’s now possible to target your ideal customers and meet them where they are – listening to podcasts.

You can either do this by placing ads in other podcasts, or you can get their ears on your own content, using podcast growth experts like myself to help you.

FAQ centred content

But podcasts can also be used to offer ‘elephant’-in-the-room-answering questions that younger and older customers alike will want to know.

This type of content can fill the gaps left behind by your website’s FAQs.

 

Photographer: Towfiqu barbhuiya | Source: Unsplash

They present a great opportunity for savvy marketing teams to circumnavigate a scaredy-cat CEO’s fear of eliminating that doubt through honest content.

And, they are a great way of targeting different audiences at different stages of the buying journey, using clever dynamic programmatic advertising.

Challenges for podcasting and the road ahead

The UK podcast industry faces challenges like discoverability and monetisation.

With a vast number of podcasts available, listeners may struggle to find new content, especially for smaller podcasts without a large following.

Monetisation can be challenging, as podcasters often rely on sponsorships for revenue, which may be difficult for smaller podcasts with limited audiences.

This is why I often try to educate on using the podcast as the platform rather than the product.

Nevertheless, the UK podcast industry is set to continue growing, with the number of podcast listeners expected to reach 25 million in the next couple of years.

Conclusion for brands and business considering podcasting

Podcasting is a growing industry in the UK, and businesses should take advantage of this trend.

By creating branded podcasts or advertising on existing ones, UK businesses can reach a wider audience and build brand awareness.

With the number of podcast listeners in the UK expected to continue growing, now is the perfect time to invest in podcast marketing.

So, there you have it – our report “Podcast statistics – UK 2024”.

If you want to stay up to date with the latest podcasting insights and trends, make sure to check out my podcast “The Podmaster“. 

Or if you’re more of a reader, get yourself signed up for podknows.studio/insights.

Or feel free to contact me to chat further.

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