What Are Podcast Listeners’ Favorite Genres?

March 29, 2021

This article is included in these additional categories:

Boomers & Older | Demographics & Audiences | Featured | Household Income | Industries | Media & Entertainment | Men | Women | Youth & Gen X

Nielsen Podcast Genres Sorted by Audience HHI Mar2021Podcast listenership is on the upswing and is expected to make up more than half of total monthly digital audio listeners this year. There also seems to be a podcast genre for every taste. Here are the ones people are listening to most, according to research [download page] from Nielsen.

The study found that Music is the top genre for light podcast listeners (those who do not listen to podcasts daily). In fact, light listeners make up 53% of the total audience who listen to Music podcasts. Arts (52%), Health & Fitness (51%) and Education (51%) are also top genres for these listeners. By contrast, heavy listeners lean more towards History (37%), News (36%) and True Crime (36%) podcasts.

Favorite Genre by Age

The median age of all podcast listeners is 38. And, while the median age for Comedy and News podcasts are 35 and 40, respectively, these two genres are thought to be the most popular podcast genres for adult listeners overall. Both genres account for 8% of all podcast usage by age.

Drilling down a bit further, Comedy is the top podcast genre for adults ages 18-34, followed by News, Society & Culture, and True Crime. For older listeners (ages 55+) News is tops, followed by Comedy, Arts, Education, and Society & Culture.

It’s probably not a coincidence that News and Comedy accounted for the largest share of ad revenues on Apple Podcasts in 2019, per data from the IAB and PwC.

Favorite Genre by Gender

In regards to gender, men make up the largest share of podcast listeners, accounting for 55% of all listeners. Although men and women make up an equal or near-equal share of listeners to genres such as Fiction (50%/50%, respectively) and TV & Film (52%/48%) there is a much larger gap when it comes to the top genres for each gender.

Men account for a full 81% of Sports and 80% of Technology podcast listeners, while women account for the majority share of Kids & Family (77%) and Health & Fitness (63%) podcast audiences.

Genres by Household Income

Nielsen’s data also shows a difference in the audience make-up of podcast genres by median household income (HHI). Overall, the median HHI of all podcast consumers is $82,641. Technology podcast audiences have the highest median HHI ($95,852), followed by Sports ($94,251). The Kids & Family genres has the lowest audience median HHI ($60,981).

Favorite Genre by Time of Day and Location

Earlier research from Nielsen found that heavy podcast listeners were more likely than the average listener to listen to podcasts at work and less likely to listen to them at home. This new study finds that among those podcast listeners who take their podcasts to work, close to half (47%) listen to Comedy podcasts.

This also correlates with the top genre by the time of day. Comedy is the top genre for podcast usage on weekdays between 10 AM and 12 PM (44%) as well as between 12 PM and 3 PM (46%). Unsurprisingly, News tops the list for weekdays between 6 AM and 10 AM (45%). It is also the most popular genre listened to at home (43%).

To read more about podcast data, the full report can be found here.

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