Generational Identity and the Podcasting Industry

AnchorGuest Blog

Written by AnchorGuest

26 Jan 2021

The latest podcasting statistics are out and we are devouring every bit of information in the hope of finding direction for 2021. We know that the Covid-19 pandemic had a huge impact on the world in general. In an instant consumer behaviors changed to adapt to a new reality. In hindsight, it was not as gloomy as we initially thought, especially in the podcasting world. 

Now, hold your breath… hear the drum roll… and listen to this! With an explosion of glitter and streamers along with the sound of party whistles, we received news that by the end of 2020 the podcasting industry brags of a whopping 100 million monthly podcast listeners! That is an increase of 40% over the last 24 months. 

2020 was a big year for audio. We have seen an increase in the number of shows as well as the number of advertisements. Audiences are growing, niche markets are becoming more competitive and in general, the podcasting industry is booming. 

According to Edison Research, about 80% of the super listeners (those who listen to podcasts at least 5 hours per week), are under the age of 55 years old. This is what that statistic looks like:

Super Listeners by Age:
18 – 2425 – 3435 – 4445 – 5455+
Edison Research

In addition, research shows that podcast listeners are not only young but also educated and wealthy with more than half of them boasting bachelor’s degrees and earning top dollars. Apparently, most podcast listeners are active Social Media users and they have subscriptions to Netflix. They say that listening to advertisements narrated by the host of their favorite podcast, is not entirely unwelcome. Three out of four listeners say they listen to podcasts to learn something new and the same number of listeners say they listen for the fun of it, to be entertained. 

Generational Identity

This brought to mind how Generational Identity is used to define and in some cases even predict consumer behavior of a generation. Generational identity can be described as a person’s realization of his or her association with a generational group and the importance of this group to the person. We should therefore look at the generation profiles available. After all, podcast listeners are consumers, and since the market is showing an upwards trend, they should be considered a very important segment in general.  


The 4 major living and contributing generations today are the Baby Boomers, Generation X, Generation Y, and Generation Z. Conferring to the Strauss-Howe generational theory these generations typically looks like this: 

 Baby BoomersGeneration-XGeneration-YGeneration-Z
Year born1943 – 19601961 – 19811982 – 20042005 – present
Current age77 – 6059 – 3938 – 1615 & younger
Trend & EventsPost war responsibilityIdealismTech BubbleWar on terror, Recessions, Covid-19

Each specific generation was shaped by timely trends and events as well as the influence of their parents who experienced different events in a prior generation. 

Baby Boomers

Baby Boomers were born post-war and lived to work and produce, they viewed jobs and work as a privilege. Most of them walked straight out of school into the workforce since their parents were all but rich after the war. They had poor work/life balance resulting in many individuals becoming workaholics. Many of them held one or maybe 2 jobs in their lifetime. Baby Boomers are currently retiring even though some cannot afford to and others do not want to. They control the majority of money in savings and funds. Although there are 45% who have not saved a penny for retirement, they contribute to 80% of all luxury travel. Baby Boomers like to learn new skills including the use of technology. Some are active on Social Media and others may only read the paper or listen to the radio. Baby Boomers have extraordinary attention spans, able to focus brilliantly when needed. Some occupied the highest paying jobs before going into retirement. 

What podcasts could Baby Boomers listen to?

Baby Boomers would enjoy news and current affairs as well as trips down memory lane. They could benefit from advice on how to maintain their health and finance and may even like guidance on how modern things work. Radio drama may be an excellent choice for relaxation and entertainment. Baby Boomers may value old fashioned principles and may pay attention to more credible sources. Since they have the time (being retired) and are able to focus very well, they might like longer shows to listen to. 


Generation X’ers are the smallest generation with the largest percentage of purchasing power. They are the idealists, seeing an opportunity and a future to look forward to. They are individualists, ground breakers, and rebels. Gen-X grew up with the least parental supervision making them independent, self-sufficient, and responsible. They strive for a better work/life balance. They believe in a “work hard, play hard” model. They value their freedom. They are problem solvers and perform very well under minimal supervision. They saw the evolution of technology and the rise of the media. They are familiar with the internet and invest in good technology like cell phones, smart TV, and Smart Speakers.

Gen-X definitely feels the heat in the workplace since millennials are entering with a natural-born-tech-mastery. Therefore, they feel the need to constantly learn new skills to stay on top of the ball. They have busy lives; working hard, playing hard, raising kids, and taking care of elderly parents. 

What podcasts would Generation-X listen to?

Gen-X’ers certainly don’t have much time to listen to podcasts and may be very picky with their choices. They may value tips and tricks in several genres from how to make and invest money on the side, how to stay fit, young, and healthy, how to combat stress and raise kids. Learning new skills like digital marketing and online trading could complement their existing expertise and help them stay informed in the ever-changing digital world. Positive affirmations and occasional humor could help them ease the tension. They may even benefit from sleep hypnosis and meditation programs. Gen-X’ers may prefer shorter shows since they have limited time available to listen to podcasts. In general, most listeners say that they turn the speed up to finish a show sooner. 

Generation-Y and Generation-X

Generation-Y is also called Millennials. They grew up in the technology bubble; they are tech-fluent. They are the smartest, richest, and longest living generation to date. High-quality education and the vast amounts of information available on the internet allow them to make informed decisions; they research everything. Technology is a part of their everyday lives. They are very well equipped to get awesome jobs. They are motivated to become the finest entrepreneurs. They also have the most student debt. They are ambitious, risk-takers, and constantly in search of something better. They want to play an active role in the improvement of the world as they know it. They want instant gratification. They are not willing to compromise their family and personal values. Instead of wanting work/life balance, they want work/life integration. They want to work from home or remotely. They value diversity and are much more tolerant of foreign cultures, races, and gender. They believe in social justice. 

Generation-Z is the youngest generation yet slowly coming to age. They are even more tech-savvy than Gen-Y. Like Gen-Y’s, they see their mobile device as an extension of themselves. They are online for up to 10 hours a day. They are very dependent on technology and are the perfect candidates for future jobs that do not exist today. They neglect inter-personal relationships as a result of their dependence (or addiction perhaps???) to technology. They care greatly about trends and are financially driven to acquire all they want. They find ways to turn their hobbies into full-time careers. For them, work/life balance is not as important as work/life blend. They multi-task every second of every day. They have numerous side hustles and not only one, but multiple income streams.

What podcasts would Generation-Y and Generation-Z listen to?

Gen-Y’s and –Z’s are interested in all things technology. They love good comedy and music. They want to tune in and get value for every minute they spend listening. They may benefit from shows that teach them the importance of human connections without making them feel lectured. They are extremely screen orientated indicating that they might only be interested in shows that can paint a picture clear enough for them to see in their minds. Animated voices, diversity in hosts, and guests may serve them well. They might also like to listen to inspirational stories about cultural and racial integration. They definitely want to know how to make more money NOW! Their attention span is sort, thus a kind reminder that shorter shows would fit them perfectly.


To conclude this, we are obliged to keep in mind that there is no one shoe that fits them all! Different strokes for different folks. Even though 2020 changed the world very progressively, traditional and generational influence still stands. The periods of isolation may have changed how we seek information and entertainment however; our behavior will always be deeply rooted in our unique cradles. Podcasting offers a platform where every individual can connect to and find common ground with another. Be it for educational, self-enrichment purposes, relaxation, or another.

We believe that the world is our oyster. 2021 is going to be an even bigger year for audio. Can you hear the opportunity knocking on your door?

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