Podcasting trends in 2021

In 2021, society collectively saw turbulent circumstances that impacted the way we listen to podcasts and connect.

Long periods of lockdown and isolation didn’t stop the adaptations that came and diversified content as we adapted to changing circumstances.

In 2021, Spotify listeners spent 78% more time listening to podcasts than the year before, with the collective minutes listened on Spotify rising a solid 23% from 2020 to 2021.

With a lot more people working from home and spending weekends indoors this meant that there was a lot more digital consumption, and 79% of global audiences agreed they used audio to combat screen fatigue.

The podcast creator sphere saw a big jump with more people eager to create and share their stories in 2021, resulting in at 67% increase in the number of shows on the Megaphone platform.

Podcasts are becoming a contagious habit in people’s lives resulting in a spread of uptake.

Older generations are indulging themselves in audio, with a 57% increase in listeners ages 55-64 and a 53% increase for listeners older than 64.

While younger audiences also showed significant growth in uptake, with 18 to 24-year-olds listening to podcasts 27% more in 2021 than the previous year.

According to Edison Research, approximately 23 million UK residents listened to a podcast in the last month, with weekly podcast listeners listening to an average of five podcasts per week.

Not only is interest peaking, but content has diversified by including more podcasts on different subjects that are seeing rapid uptake.

Religion and Spirituality grew 625%, Growth Arts 1942% and Sexuality and Identity being investigated heavily with a staggering 2429% increase.

Shared listening has seen an increase with more people at home together over the year that showed growth in listening via smart speakers at 98% and smart TVs at 193%, but the main place for people to listen is still in the car.

Spotify growth for listening in the car exploded with a 2736% increase, which is interesting considering how many people had shifted to working from home.

The podcast audio space is growing steadily with 71% of people aged 16+ in the UK being familiar with podcasts and 59% aged 16+ having ever listened to a podcast.

The space still has plenty of room for growth as more people find content to suit them.

James Cator, Spotify UK and Ireland, Head of Studios, said, “The first Infinite Dial report for the U.K. is a clear demonstration that consumers’ habits when it comes to audio consumption have changed rapidly, and are continuing to do so.”

“As the UK’s most popular audio platform, Spotify is a key part of driving and delivering this change – as we’re seeing in podcast consumption in particular. You only have to look at how excited people have been to receive their Spotify Wrapped 2021 year-in-review to understand the enormous role that audio plays for people, and how creators soundtrack the world around us.”

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