Global Podcast Listener Forecast 2021–2025

Increasing Penetration Worldwide, but at Very Different Scales

Executive Summary

Using a set of 18 country-level forecasts, Insider Intelligence can now paint a picture of podcast adoption worldwide. This digital medium is increasingly popular everywhere, but its listener bases and growth rates vary widely.

Which countries have embraced podcasts the most?

The US leads the world in podcast listenership across every category. In 2021, 117.8 million people in the country will be monthly podcast listeners, representing 40.0% of all internet users. Coming in second in terms of penetration is Sweden, where 34.6% of internet users will listen to podcasts this year. Adoption will be similarly widespread in Norway, Australia, Canada, and Spain. In absolute terms, China and Brazil will rank second and third in total podcast listeners (85.6 million and 39.2 million people, respectively), due mainly to their huge populations.

Where is podcast adoption growing the fastest?

Latin America will produce standout growth. Brazil will increase its podcast listenership by 19.8% this year, Argentina by 17.9%, and Mexico by 13.6%. Collectively, the average growth of these three markets will exceed that of both North America and Europe. The individual country with the fastest growth in 2021, however, is China (25.1%), thanks largely to its extremely low podcast penetration to date.

Where is the enthusiasm for podcasts still lagging?

Asia-Pacific will trail the rest of the world in podcast adoption by a significant margin. China will have the lowest podcast penetration rate among the countries we track (8.7% of internet users), followed by Japan (11.8%) and South Korea (12.2%). Further, although China is growing its listener base quickly, adoption in Japan and South Korea is also increasing relatively slowly.

WHAT’S IN THIS REPORT? This report presents our latest forecasts for podcast listeners across 18 countries: the US, Canada, the UK, France, Germany, Italy, Spain, Denmark, Finland, Norway, Sweden, Australia, China, Japan, South Korea, Argentina, Brazil, and Mexico.

KEY STAT: This year, the number of monthly podcast listeners will increase by 15.5% among the 18 countries we break out, for a total of 383.7 million. Next year, listenership will surge again, to 424.2 million.

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Ethan Cramer-Flood


Ross Benes
Senior Analyst
Rini Mukhopadhyay
Forecasting Analyst
Peter Vahle
Senior Forecasting Analyst
Paul Verna
Principal Analyst