Did the pandemic slow down the growth of podcast listening? Or is podcast listening dropping as everyone goes back to everyday life? The answer to both questions is a clear no, based on what we see from early results from The Canadian Podcast Listener 2022. Gains in podcast listening during the pandemic are holding and pointing toward a considerable upside over the next few years.
At Signal Hill Insights, we have been tracking podcast listening growth every year since 2017 with The Canadian Podcast Listener study, thanks to support from The Podcast Exchange (TPX) and our other sponsors from across the podcasting industry.
After showing incremental growth between 2017 and 2020 in our annual calibration survey of more than 3,000 Canadian adults, we saw podcast listening shift to a higher gear from the 1st year of the pandemic (2020) to the 2nd year (2021). Canadians who say they ‘ever listened’ to a podcast shot up 4 points from 44 to 48%. This has been followed this year by a 5-point increase, with more than half of Canadian adults (53%) now saying they have listened to a podcast.
More Canadians Listening to Podcasts—and More Listeners Getting the Podcast Habit
On the heels of increased sampling of podcasts from 2020 to 2021, regular listening climbed sharply from 2021 to 2022, with monthly, weekly and daily listening each posting the highest year-over-year growth since we started tracking in 2017.
- Monthly podcast listening is up from 29 to 34% over the past year—a 17% increase.
- Weekly listening has grown from 21 to 24%—a year-over-year increase of 14%.
- Monthly listening is up among both English and French Canadians, with monthly listening up from 31 to 36% among Anglophones and from 21 to 24% among Francophones.
The recent increase in Canadians who have tried podcasting is in effect helping to turbo-charge the steady growth in habitual listening we’ve been seeing over the past 5 years:
- Daily listening has nearly doubled since 2017, with weekly listening growing by 60%.
- Meanwhile, even when we include the increased sampling of podcasts we’ve seen during the pandemic, the proportion of Canadian adults who have ever listened to podcasts has only increased by 23% since 2017.
Far from stalling during the pandemic or levelling off since, the pandemic appears to have fueled the growth of the podcasting habit—boosting prospects for future growth, especially if the number of Canadians trying podcasts continues to grow at the pace we’ve seen the past couple of years.
The Canadian Podcast Listener study is co-published by Signal Hill Insights and Jeff Ulster, with support from The Podcast Exchange (TPX). Results are based on online surveys using a market representative sample from Maru Voice Canada. A brief calibration survey, among at least 3,000 Canadian adults, establishes the size and composition of the Canadian podcast audience each year, followed by an in-depth survey among 1,600 monthly podcast listeners.