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Young people's engagement with podcasts in 2021

Added 17 Mar 2022 | Updated 31 May 23

The podcast market continues to grow, with 40% of UK adults aged 26-35 listening to podcasts at least once a week and listenership in the UK predicted to grow from 9 million in 2017 to 28 million by 2026 (Statista, 2022). Younger generations are leading the way with podcast listening and, in 2021, the Infinite Dial report found that 73% of people in the UK aged 16-34 were familiar with podcasts compared with 72% of those aged 35-54 and 67% of those aged 55 and above (Beniamini, 2021).

In 2020 we found that 1 in 4 children and young people aged 8-18 listened to podcasts more during the COVID-19 lockdowns than they had done before, and also that more young people aged 14 and above listened than younger children (30.8% of young people aged 14-16 and 38.7% of young people aged 16-18 vs 9.1% of children aged 8-11 and 19.0% of children aged 11-14). Find out more.

Following this, in 2021, we decided to dig a little deeper into the attitudes and behaviours of young people’s engagement with podcasts by conducting a survey in which 1,606 young people aged 11-18 from 13 schools participated.

Key findings:

  • 1 in 5 young people said that they listened to podcasts in their free time.
  • Of those who listened to podcasts, nearly 3 in 5 (58.7%) said that they listened because they could also carry out other activities, such as homework or exercise, closely followed by 1 in 2 (53.9%) saying that they found the subject interesting.
  • 1 in 2 listeners (54.2%) felt that one of the benefits of listening to podcasts was that they got to hear different people’s opinions and ideas.
  • 3 in 4 (74.6%) agreed that listening to podcasts helped them understand a subject, and 3 in 10 (30.7%) agreed that it helped them understand what they had learned at school.
  • 2 in 3 (66.2%) listeners agreed that listening to a podcast made them want to discuss ideas with friends and/or family, and that listening to podcasts helped them feel more confident about a subject (63.7%).
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