Why audiobooks and podcasts are gaining popularity

The more time a person spends to get to the office, the higher the likelihood that he will listen to a podcast or audiobook while traveling. Deloitte experts analyzed the statistics and saw new prospects for the audio format

Why do we still like to listen

According to Deloitte estimates, in 2023 the global audiobook market will grow by 25% to $ 3.5 billion, and the podcast market will show 30% growth, reaching $ 1.1 billion. Compared to broadcasting, the global revenue from which is now $ 42 billion, or the market for music recordings and income from performances ($ 51 billion), these figures seem insignificant. However, if we take into account that the sphere of entertainment and the media as a whole increases by no more than 4% annually, the increase of 25-30% for audiobooks and podcasts is really impressive. These segments are now outgrowing their niche status and are turning into independent markets.

This growth is part of the trend to popularize the audio format. So, in the USA in 2018, revenues from sales of musical recordings grew by 12%, and revenues from sales of vinyl – by 8%. This suggests that even physical musical media does not lose attractiveness to the consumer. In global terms, radio revenues, as well as revenues from selling concert tickets, are growing at an uneven pace, but still a few percentage points faster than revenues from TV or printed books, and 10–20 percentage points faster than revenues from magazines and newspapers. In 2018, the United States sold $ 20 billion worth of headphones, which is 27% more than the previous year. All these figures show how important the hearing channel for a person is hearing.

What awaits the audiobook market

The largest market for audiobooks in the world has developed in the United States. Already in 2023, it could reach about $ 1.5 billion and in the next few years will increase by 20–25% per year. In second place is China. Here, revenue from the sale of audiobooks in 2023 is expected to reach $ 1 billion. At the same time, the world market is estimated at $ 3.5 billion.

Speaking about the audiobook market, one should take into account not only income but also the number of listeners. According to a survey conducted in 2018 in the United States, over the past 12 months, 18% of adult Americans listened to at least one audiobook, which is 4% more than in 2016. If we assume that this indicator shows stable growth, this means that today in the United States more than 73 million people listen to at least one audiobook per year. Similarly, data for China show that in 2017, 22.8% of the country’s population listened to at least one audiobook. If we assume that the dynamics of the audiobook market in China and the United States are approximately the same, we can conclude that more than a quarter of Chinese (350 million people) listen to audiobooks. Thus, around the world, the number of listeners of audiobooks almost certainly exceeds 0.5 billion people