Younger and more diverse listeners to change UK podcast landscape

Younger and more diverse listeners to change UK podcast landscape

The face of UK podcast listening is “poised to change” as younger listeners coming into the medium are increasingly diverse, new research has found.

Gabriel Soto, senior director of research at Edison Research, told attendees at its UK Podcast Consumer Briefing that podcasts had “a broad appeal” across gender, ethnicity and age groups, with the future of the medium “poised to change as the medium evolves”.

Nearly half (48%) of listeners who identified as black Briton and 39% of Asian British listened to podcasts each month. Soto said: “I do believe these rates are poised to take off and younger generations continue to adopt podcasts.”

He highlighted that Gen Z (aged 15-24) newcomer listeners, who made up 38% of those who started listening within the last year, have “a chance to leave their mark on the medium”. Examining these younger newcomers, Soto added that you can see “a glimpse into how the listening pool will look” should they continue to adopt podcasts.

Gen Z newcomer listeners are more than twice as likely to identify as Asian, nearly twice as likely to identify as black and twice as likely to identify as “mixed”. A total of 36% identify as non-white among this segment.

Soto noted: “As a person of colour in the industry myself, I can’t express how important inclusion is in the podcasting industry, not only for the sake of inclusion but also because it’s a smart business decision for your brand and for creators in the future.”

Edison Research UK podcast listening by race and tenure

Podcasts reach all generations

Podcasts in the UK reach all age groups and this is growing six to nine percentage points across all groups, Soto explained.

More than half (56%) of 18-34s are monthly podcast listeners and nearly half (41%) are weekly listeners. Young listeners are “loyal” and “essential to the future of many businesses”, he pointed out.

In the 35- 54 age bracket, 45% are monthly listeners and 34% are weekly listeners. This group is a “significant market size”, according to Soto, as they tend to be either making purchases for families or are households with dual incomes and no children, with higher spending power.

He added: “Whatever type of consumer you’re looking to reach in the UK in this segment, podcasts are an excellent way to reach them.”

More than a quarter (28%) of those aged 55-plus listen to podcasts on a monthly basis and 18% on a weekly basis. Soto warned that brands should not “underestimate” this “wiser” segment: “Podcasts appeal to all generations and it’s something you should be telling your stakeholders.”

Edison Research UK podcast consumer monthly podcast listening

Highly coveted audience

Meanwhile, podcast listeners are “more likely” to be employed, have a university degree and be affluent than the average UK population.

Two-thirds (66%) are full- or part-time employed, compared with the average UK population of 58%. Nearly half (47%) of monthly podcast listeners have a university degree, compared with the UK average of 37%.

A quarter of these listeners (25%) earned £75K or more in a year, compared with 20% in the wider population.

This makes them “a highly coveted audience for advertisers”, Soto concluded.

UK podcasting reaching ‘record highs’

Podcast listenership was reaching “record highs” across multiple measures, including reach and time spent, according to Edison data.

The company’s research found that 69% of the UK population aged 18 and over — or 38m people — had ever listened to a podcast, up from 59% in 2021. Meanwhile, 30% (or 17m) aged 18-plus had listened in the last week, up from 25% in 2021.

Edison Research UK podcast consumer time spent graph

In addition, a weekly UK podcast listener consumes an average of five hours and 27 minutes of podcasts per week, revealing “a growing opportunity” for advertisers, Soto highlighted. Indeed, there are also “super listeners”, with 17% of 15-34s, 18% of 35-54s and 12% of 55 and over listening for 10 hours or more per week.

The research also showed that the top 25 podcasts for weekly audience in the UK are largely British productions, aside from the number one slot, which is Spotify’s The Joe Rogan Experience.

Edison’s UK podcast research “bypasses the tricky download metric”, Soto said, basing its findings on a survey of 8,000 podcast listeners aged 15 and over.

Adwanted UK are the audio experts operating at the centre of audio trading, distribution and analytic processing. Contact us for more information on J-ET, Audiotrack or our RAJAR data engine. To access our audio industry directory, visit audioscape.info and to find your new job in audio visit The Media Leader Jobs, a dedicated marketplace for media, advertising and adtech roles.

Media Jobs