International Podcast day: Profiling Britain’s regular podcast listeners
September 29th, 2023, Christien Pheby

International Podcast day: Profiling Britain’s regular podcast listeners

September 30 is International Podcast Day, and we’ve decided to commemorate the occasion by taking a look at the nation’s regular podcast listeners – those who listen to podcasts at least once a week.

Britain’s podcast listeners more likely to be younger and male

Demographically speaking, podcast listeners are more likely to be men: some 58% are male compared to 49% of the wider public, with the remaining 42% being female (compared to 51%).

They also tend to skew younger: 44% are aged 18-34 (compared to 28% of the general public), 38% are 35-54 (vs. 34%), and just 17% are over 55 (vs. 38%). They’re less likely to be parents/guardians (52% vs. 40%), are less likely to be married than the average Briton (38% vs. 43%), and more likely to be single (31% vs. 23%). In terms of their economic status, they’re more likely to be higher income (23% vs. 18%), meaning they earn more than 200% of the median income, or middle income (37% vs. 34%) – meaning they earn between 75% and 200% of the median. They are slightly less likely to be lower income (22% vs. 26%).

How podcast listeners listen to podcasts 

With some basic facts out of the way, let’s look at where regular listeners are getting their podcasts.

Spotify is by some distance the most popular provider (40%), with BBC Sounds coming in second (26%).  Apple Podcasts comes in third (23%).

There’s a wider gulf between the third most popular platform and the rest: just 17% listen via YouTube podcasts, 12% via Google Podcasts, and 11% to Audible.

The top ten podcast genres among regular listeners 

The regular podcast listener’s favourite genre is comedy (36%), followed by sport (24%), music (22%), news & politics (22%), and TV & Movies.

Documentary podcasts come in joint sixth (18%), along with science (18%) and health & living podcasts. Tech (17%) and True Crime podcasts (16%) – currently the subject of much ethical inquiry – round out the top ten.

Most podcast fans find ads intrusive, and two in five skip them entirely

It might be easy to think of podcast fans as a captive audience: after all, most platforms don’t have a “Skip Ad” button that the bored consumer can instinctively smash to get rid of an annoying ad for a recipe box or a trading platform. But despite the greater level of effort involved in skipping a podcast ad, 42% of regular listeners find them intrusive and skip them; in September 2019, just 36% of regular listeners felt the same.

A further 18% also find them intrusive, but listen to them anyway (vs. 17% in 2019), and 14% say they do not find them intrusive but they also don’t find them particularly interesting (compared to 17% in 2019). Just 14% say they do not find them intrusive and do find them interesting (vs. 11% in 2019), and a further 6% say they don’t listen to podcasts with ads at all (vs. 15% in 2019).

YouGov Profiles is based on continuously collected data and rolling surveys, rather than from a single limited questionnaire. Profiles data for Great Britain is nationally representative of the online population and weighted by age, gender, education, region, and race. Learn more about Profiles.

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