The global audiobooks market is flourishing, with American publishers earning $1.6 billion in 2021 alone. With nearly 74,000 new titles published last year, we decided to dive into audiobook statistics and help you learn: How much does the audiobook industry earn globally, and what is its share among regular books How many people listen to audiobooks, and what are the most popular genres How many audiobooks, on average, can people listen through in a day, week, month Did you know that 73% of people listen to audiobooks during their daily commute? Learn more down below. Audiobook sales/revenue Audiobook market share How many people listen to audiobooks Most popular audiobook genres Audiobook demographics Audible statistics Key Audiobook Statistics The audiobook industry earned $1.6 billion in the US and $4.22 billion globally in 2021. Even though 45% of adult Americans have already listened to an audiobook, the format only has an 11.3% market share in the US. Up to 116.25 million adult Americans, 24.77 million adult Englishmen, and roughly 466 million Chinese listened to audiobooks in 2021. The average daily time spent listening to audiobooks is 41 minutes. Since an average book lasts 10 hours, a person can listen through at least 2 audiobooks per month. Science fiction audiobooks were the most sold genre in 2021, with 73% of people listening to them during commuting. Young adults between the ages of 18 and 29 represent the biggest share (30%) of audiobook listeners. Up to 49% of audiobook listeners use Audible. Audiobook Sales & Revenue Audiobook publishers in the US earned $1.6 billion in 2021. That’s 25% more than in 2020, yet another year of revenue growth for audiobook publishers. The annual revenue in the table below was calculated using revenue growth data from previous years: YearAudiobook publishersrevenue in the US2021$1.6 billion2020$1.2 billion2019$1.04 billion2018$897.7 million2017$584.9 million2016$453.9 million(APA, APA 2) You can compare it to music streaming revenue. Listeners from the UK bought 24 million audiobooks from June 2020 to June 2021. That represents a 6% share of books and e-books sold in that time period. The table shows all the audiobooks sold in the UK (and the sales share) from June 2021 to June 2013: Time periodNumber ofaudiobookssold in the UKShare of salescompared to regularbooks & e-booksJune 2020 – June 202124 million6%June 2019 – June 202020 million6%June 2018 – June 201918 million5%June 2017 – June 201815 million4%June 2016 – June 201714 million4%June 2015 – June 201612 million3%June 2014 – June 20158 million2%June 2013 – June 20148 million2%(Nielsen BookData) In 2017, the audiobooks industry in Europe made $500 million in revenue, compared to $470 million made in China in the same year. That year, up to 7,000 audiobook titles were published in China. (Aldus Up) 96.9% of audiobook revenue in the US in 2021 came from sales of digital formats. 2.9% came from CD audiobook format, and 0.2% came from other devices or apps. Here’s the revenue share from audiobook sales from 2021 to 2017: YearDigital salesCD salesSales ofother devicesor from apps202196.9%2.9%0.2%202095.8%4%0.2%201993.2%5.9%0.9%201892.1%7.2%0.8%201787.4%11.5%1.1%(APA 2) Almost 2/3 of audiobooks sold in 2021 are from the Fiction genre. Here’s the distribution of Fiction/non-Fiction audiobook sales from 2021 to 2017: YearShare of Fictionaudiobook salesShare of non-Fictionaudiobook sales202163.4%36.6%202060.6%39.4%201961.3%38.7%201864.8%35.2%201769.8%30.2%(APA 2) Almost 74,000 audiobook titles were published in the US in 2021. To compare, ten years ago, only 7,237 recorded books were published. Here’s how many audiobook titles were published in previous years: YearNew audiobook titlespublished in the US202173,898202069,464201960,303201844,685201742,441201642,960201535,574201425,944201324,305201216,30920117,23720106,20020094,60220084,68520073,07320063,098(APA, APA 2, APA 3, Statista) Audiobook market growth The global audiobook market was worth $4.22 billion in 2021. It’s predicted that the market will rise to $33.54 billion by 2030. Here is how the global audiobook market grew from 2019 to 2021 and what are the predictions for the future: YearMarket worthGrowth2030$33.54 billion+70.25%2028$19.7 billion+1.6%2027$19.39 billion+359.48%2021$4.22 billion+20.57%2020$3.5 billion+23.24%2019$2.84 billion/(GVR, GlobeNewswire, GlobeNewswire 2, Reports And Data, Deloitte) What was the cumulative amount audiobook publishers received in the last 6 years? American audiobook publishers earned around $5.78 billion between 2021 and 2016. Here are the cumulative earnings for the American audiobook industry for each year: YearCumulative earningsfrom 2017 to 20212021$5.78 billion2020$4.18 billion2019$2.98 billion2018$1.93 billion2017$1.04 billion2016$453.9 million(APA, APA 2) Audiobook Market Share Based on book sales in the US in January 2022, audiobooks had an 8.8% market share. Hardback had the largest share in terms of book formats, with a 36.6% share. Here’s a distribution of book sales based on format: Book formatShare based on sales in the USHardback36.6%Hardback34.8%E-book11.3%Audiobook(physical & downloaded)8.8%Mass market2.7%Board books/special bindings2.1%Other4.1%(about ebooks) How Many People Listen to Audiobooks? Up to 45% of adult Americans had listened to an audiobook by 2021. Based on the US population aged 18+ that year, that stands for roughly 116.25 million Americans. YearNumber of adultAmericans listeningto audiobooksShare of the adultpopulation in the US2021116.25 million45%2020113.2 million44%(APA, Data Center) The UK data shows similar results, with 44.3% of English adults listening to audiobooks. Based on the number of adults in the UK in 2021, that’s 24.77 million audiobook listeners. Number of adults in the UKlistening to audiobooksShare of the adultpopulation in the UK24.77 million44.3%(NLT) In China, one survey showed that among 42,456 respondents, 32.7% are listening to audiobooks in 2022. If translated to total China’s population, it would mean that roughly 466 million Chinese listen to audiobooks in 2022. Estimated number Chineselistening to audiobooksShare of theChinese population466 million32.7%(Statista 2) Younger American adults were the likeliest to listen to audiobooks from February 2020 to February 2021. Their share is 30%, and the percentage goes down with age: Age groupShare of Americanslistening to audiobooks18-29 years30%30-49 years27%50-64 years22%65+ years12%(Statista 3) What’s the best way to listen to audiobooks? The best way to listen to audiobooks is with quality headphones that produce a clear, easy-to-understand sound without distortion. Preferably you want noise-cancelling headphones for an extra layer of protection against ambient noise. Check these out: The top noise-cancelling headphones Best noise-cancelling earphones Under $100 ANC headphones Audiobook Listening Statistics What’s the average time people listen to audiobooks? People spend an average of 41 minutes per day listening to audiobooks. The time spent listening to audiobooks has increased by 106% from 2017 to 2021. Here’s how much time an average person spends listening to audiobooks per week, month, year, etc., and how many audiobooks they can read, considering an average audiobook lasts around 10 hours: Time periodAverage timespent listeningto audiobooksNumberof finishedaudiobooksWeek4 hours 47 minutesAlmost halfof a bookMonth20 hours 30 minutesMore than2 booksYear249 hours 24 minutesMore than25 books5 years1247 hours 1 minuteMore than124 books10 years2494 hours 2 minutesMore than249 books(Bookseller 2, APA, Rakuten) The average number of audiobooks read in the US in 2020 was 8.1. (Statista 4) The average length of a normal audiobook collection A standard audiobook collection is between 7 to 9 hours long. Of course, that depends on the genre since sci-fi books are usually longer than shorter comedy books. (GVR) A survey of 1,000 respondents in 2021 showed that most listen up to 2-3 audiobooks per month. Around 11% go much further and listen to more than 7 audiobooks listened per month. Here are all the answers: Number of finishedaudiobooks per monthShare of respondents1 audiobook25%2-3 audiobooks32%4-7 audiobooks29%7+ audiobooks11%(Great Worklife) When do people listen to audiobooks? Most people (73%) listen to audiobooks during their commute. The next best opportunity to listen to audiobooks is when doing housework, at 33%. Here are all the answers from the SurveyMonkey survey: Where peoplelisten to audiobooksShare of respondentsDuring commuting73%During house chores33%During workout25%During work15%While shopping5%Other8%(SurveyMonkey) Most Popular Audiobook Genres With 4.93 million audiobooks sold in the US, Literature & Fiction were the most popular genres in 2017. Here’s a rundown of genres that sold the most audiobooks in 2017: GenreNumber of salesin the US in 2017Literature & Fiction4.93 millionMystery, Thriller & Suspense2.45 millionScience Fiction & Fantasy2.14 millionRomance1.33 millionBusiness & Money1 millionChildren’s0.97 millionBiographies & Memoirs0.96 million(Bubblecow) According to APA, science fiction and fantasy were the most-sold genres in 2021. The third was the mystery, thriller, and suspense genre, followed by romance and Fiction. Romance was the most popular audiobook genre in 2021, increasing its revenue by 75%. The second was the self-help genre, with a 34% increase in science fiction, with a 32% increase. Rating basedon sales in 2021Genres1.Science fiction2.Fantasy3.Mystery, thriller& suspense4.Romance5.Fiction(APA) Audiobook Demographics A younger audience between 18 and 29 is the likeliest to listen to audiobooks. Here’s the share of audiobook listeners from 2021 based on age group: Age groupShare ofaudiobooklisteners18-29 years30%30-49 years27%50-64 years22%65+ years12%(Statista 5) Gender-wise, women are likelier to listen to audiobooks than men. In a survey from 2021, 25% of females said they listen to audiobooks, compared to 22% of males. This is how the percentage of respondents changed between 2021 and 2018: YearShare of FEMALErespondentsShare of MALErespondents202125%22%201922%17%201818%19%(Statista 6) The share of African American spoken word listeners increased by 125% from 2014 to 2020. There was a massive 83% increase in the 13-34 age group, too. Here are more detailed numbers: Groups with thehighest increaseof listening tospoken wordShare in 2014Share in 2020IncreaseAfrican Americans12%27%125%13-34 age group12%22%83%Women14%22%57%Hispanic/Latinos15%22%47%(Edison Research) 80.1% of the elderly in the UK say that listening to an audiobook helps to stimulate their brain. Compared to 77.4% of young adults (18-24 age group) saying the same. In 50% of cases, listening to audiobooks allowed elders to complete a task, compared to 42.1% on the young adults’ side. Listening toaudiobooks:Elderly that agreeYoung adults(18-24 years)that agreeStimulates brain80.1%77.4%Help tocomplete a task50%42.1%(NLT) More than half (54%) of audiobook listeners are younger than 45 years. In 2020, that percentage was slightly lower at 52%. (APA 2) Children of 61% of American parents listened to audiobooks in 2021. Which is a lot more compared to 35% in 2020. (APA) Audible Statistics Audible revenue Audible earned around $200 million in 2021, according to Zippia. However, there are no official numbers to tell the exact revenue. Similarweb, a website tracking other websites’ statistics, speculates that Audible Inc. earns between $200-$500 million per year. (Zippia, Similarweb) Audible accounted for 63.4% of the audiobook industry’s revenue in 2021. (IBISWorld) Audible app’s revenue from the App Store saw a rise by 3,948% from January 2020 to May 2022. The rise in revenue is probably due to pandemic, which forced people to stay at home. Here’s how revenue raised by each month: MonthMonthly revenuefrom App StoreMay 2022$17.5 millionJanuary 2022$14 millionMay 2021$6 millionApril 2021$6 millionJanuary 2021$3 millionOctober 2020$2 millionJanuary 2020$417 thousand(appfigures) Audible market share Almost half of the respondents in a 2021 survey used Audible as their audiobook service of choice. Google Play Books and CDs were the least favorite. Here’s the distribution of used audiobook services: Audiobook service/storeShare of respondentsusing the serviceAudible49%Library Apps24%Storytel9%Apple iBooks6%Scribd6%Google Play Books3%CDs3%(Great Worklife) Audible covered 80% of the audiobook market in Spain in 2020. It took over the region despite being only 18 months old at the time. (Nozama) Audible listening stats Audible has more than 470,000 audiobooks in its library. Considering that an average audiobook lasts for 10 hours, that means Audible holds up to 4.7 million hours of content. Furthermore, if an average person spends 41 minutes per day listening to audiobooks, it would take around 6.9 million days (or 18,845 years) to finish listening to them all. Number ofaudiobooksin the libraryAveragehours ofcontentHow long would ittake to listen throughall audiobooks on Audible470,0004.7 million hours18,845 years(IMHO) Audible user statistics Around 27 million people visited the Audible.com website in November 2022. That’s 800,000 more than in October 2022 but 300,000 less than in September 2022. MonthNumber of Audible.com visitorsNovember 202227 millionOctober 202226.2 millionSeptember 202227.3 millionAugust 202226.8 million(Similarweb) The majority of visitors are from the US: CountryShare of Audible.com visitorsUS79.18%Canada1.31%Mexico1.26%Brazil0.81%South Africa0.74%Others16.71%(Similarweb) Millennials aged between 25 and 34 represent the biggest share of visitors: Age groupShare of Audible.com visitors18-24 years20.41%25-34 years29.28%35-44 years19.51%45-5413.76%55-6410.27%65+6.77%(Similarweb) Visitors mostly consist of males: GenderShare of Audible.com visitorsMale55.57%Female44.43%(Similarweb) Read more on entertainment: Japanese anime statistics Video streaming industry Average screen time data Conclusion These were the latest audiobook statistics. With almost half of the US citizens already listening to audiobooks, and the global industry nearing $5 billion in revenues, it’s expected that audiobook popularity will only go up. Do you listen to audiobooks? What makes them a better choice over regular physical books or e-readers? Please let us know in the comments. Sources: APA, AUDIOBOOK PUBLISHERS REPORT TENTH STRAIGHT YEAR OF DOUBLE-DIGIT GROWTH. Published 7 Jun. 2022. Accessed 29 Dec. 2022. APA 2, AUDIOBOOK INDUSTRY SALES SURVEY KEY POINTS. Published Spring 2022. Accessed 29 Dec. 2022. APA 3, AUDIOBOOK FACT SHEET. Published Spring 2022. Accessed 29 Dec. 2022. Nielsen BookData, Prime time for audiobooks. Published 2021. Accessed 29 Dec. 2022. Aldus Up, Aldus session “Are audiobooks transforming the publishing landscape?”. Published 15 Apr. 2020. Accessed 29 Dec. 2022. Statista, Number of audiobook titles published in the United States from 2007 to 2021. Published 20 Jul. 2022. Accessed 29 Dec. 2022. Statista 2, Share of individuals who listen to audiobooks in China as of April 2022, by age group. Published 9 Aug. 2022. Accessed 29 Dec. 2022. 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Zippia, What is Audible’s Revenue?. Published 13 Oct. 2020. Accessed 29 Dec. 2022. IBISWorld, Audible Inc. – Company Profile. Accessed 29 Dec. 2022. appfigures, Audible’s Revenue is Skyrocketing in 2022. Published 19 Aug. 2022. Accessed 29 Dec. 2022. Nozama, Audible already has 80% market share in Spain. Accessed 29 Dec. 2022. IMHO, Audiobook Subscription Services Comparison 2022. Published 2022. Accessed 29 Dec. 2022. about ebooks, Ebook Industry News Feed. Published 2022. Accessed 10 Jan. 2023. Peter SusicPeter’s childhood interest in audio has grown into a full-blown quest to find the best headphones. He’s got many years of editor experience trying out numerous audiophile and consumer headphones. His words: “After many years, I can confidently say which ones are good and which ones are terrible.” Find his honest opinion in his reviews and guides.