In this episode, I try to connect a few datasets together: from global smartphone usage, to OS’s (OSses? Oh-Esses?) and the advent of Spotify for Podcasters and Google Podcast in Asia.

Then, I give my personal thoughts to how you should position yourself as a podcaster company, brand and potential player to this exciting region! 😄

Full Credits, Articles, Links

Full Transcript

Norman here from Podlovers Asia, giving you a quick market update. Let’s get right into it.

I wanted to introduce this new segment called Market Update, where we take a look at articles and reports on smartphone usage, as well as platforms where podcasters are listening to their favorite shows, etc., on the app of their choice, but I’ll try my best to focus on Asia.

0:30 Let’s take a look at some global numbers for the first part. So, an article from reported on the 8th of February, talks about the iPhone vs Android market share where Android has quite a large percentage compared to iPhone. On a global scale, it’s at 74.45% compared to iPhone’s 22.85%. This is in February. Going in a little bit more granular: we have China, which is at 73.67%, and iPhone at 24.79%.

1:14 So what does this mean? It means that while iPhone still has a strong brand, and that Apple Podcast is still a core part of the podcast industry, globally, the majority of users around the world will have Androids, nearly 75%. And that means that they are most likely to have podcast listening apps that are associated with Android. Well, most likely, such as Spotify, Google Podcasts, Castbox, etc.

1:45 What’s interesting about the previous article is that was reported in February 2019. But by finding some stats for October 2019, the Mobile Operating System Market Share Worldwide Provided by Statcounter reports that Android now has 76.67% market share, as opposed to iOS, which is 22.09%. And the rest is quite a number such as Samsung, Windows and Ky OS, each of them being less than 0.5% respectively.


So as much as Android and iOS have been, you know, butting heads against each other for quite a while the past few months, Android still has been taking over quite a number of markets. So that’s quite an overview of how smartphones are doing right now. And we like to focus on smartphones for the time being because quite a lot of listeners are using smartphones as a key component of their audio content consumption behavior.


Now on podcasts specifically, an article by Voxnest, talks about the Apple versus Spotify data and I’m looking at two articles here, one on the October data and one on the September data. September, they’ve been quite active, taking over majority market share for a lot of countries around the world, such as Norway, France, Romania, Tunisia, Morocco and Israel. And now they have claimed more countries such as Sweden ever since. Spotify is pushing for the realm of podcasting to be included on their platform. They have been quite active in their efforts ever since their efforts in doing so, or in promoting their Spotify for Podcasters in Brazil, supposedly making the first worldwide podcast summit, it’s been evident that Spotify has really been pushing for podcasters to join their platform and I guess in that way, gaining their market share. And on the flip side, Apple Podcasts. Well, there were plans to fund original podcast back in July, as mentioned In a different article, but there hasn’t been that much of a push compared to what Spotify is doing.

4:07 But we can’t focus on just one source of data. Another study by ScientiaMobile says 63% of the world’s smartphones run on Android. So, you know, 76%, 63%. We don’t really know what the actual percentages are because I think it’s a little bit bias in certain ways. I think it’s to do with the way that these numbers are being collected, their methods of procuring these percentages are maybe limited by certain factors, but we can never tell. Either way, I will post the links to these respective articles for you to compare and make your own decisions and conclusions in the show notes.

4:50 Further on, James Cridland of Podnews, has reported that at least 80% of Android users have the Google Podcast player (if not app) for installed, which is interesting. I like to think of that as Google’s efforts to adapt towards smartphone users who are willing to listen to audio on demand, or audio on the go. And on podcasts specifically, Google’s efforts have been really great recently, especially with how immersive and accessible the Google Podcast app is. And most phones have already Google Podcast app installed, which is great. Like I didn’t have to think about it. Personally, I switch between Google Podcasts and Castbox. So once in a while, I look at the podcast app from Google and you know, take a look at how the UI is and how easy it is to search specific shows. And you know, they’re on their way there which is fantastic.

5:55 Moving into Asia-specific information. Let’s get right into it. From the same article and/or page by ScientiaMobile, they talk about something called the Mobile Overview Report (MOVR), which is a report that ScientiaMobile does to talk about specifically, timely data about device usage trends focusing on smartphone, tablet and feature phone usage. They have their own internal data sources averaging over a 1 billion hits per month. So that is quite a critical mass of data that they are working with. And looking at the Asia findings for Q3 2019: Asia smartphone usage reached up to 91% as smartphone 4% as tablets and 5% as feature. We have data as well for top five smartphones and top five tablets. But they’re all Apple-specific. So you have Apple iPhone next at 4% and quite a number of models 3% respectively.

6:58 But this is the interesting thing: although Apple dominates the top five smartphones and tablets purchased across Asia, the overall OS used by smartphone users in Asia specifically consist of 71%, Android and 28%, iOS, and others at 1%. So this is fascinating. If you are a podcaster and you really, really, really want to penetrate the Asian market, the market consists of theoretically 71% Android and 28% iOS, if you are specifically targeting listeners who hold the behavior of listening to their podcasts on their phone, or on their mobile device, so that is something to take into consideration.

7:45 From the other side we have extra information from XtraInsights, which is posted on Of course, I will be posting all these links to the show notes right below. Their method is this: they have reached out to 3000 participants aged 16 to 39, across eight countries in the Asia Pacific region. And let me bring up the countries that are involved: Malaysia, New Zealand, Australia, Singapore, Philippines, Vietnam, Indonesia and Thailand. XtraInsights really wanted to dive into the trends in audio and media consumption throughout the Asia Pacific region, and these findings are posted online. So fantastic. Just going to point out some notable pieces of data from this article, you really should look at this data like it’s amazing. It’s pretty, pretty fascinating because you can even categorise it by country and by gender and by age range. So the data is quite granular.

8:53 We talked about whether or not these users listen to radio at all, and what equipment do they use most to listen to the audio or to their favorite audio content, sorry. Quite a large percentage still used AM/FM devices: So Malaysia 56%, New Zealand 67%, Australia 69%, Singapore at 43% Philippines at 44%, Vietnam at 32%, Indonesia at 44%, Thailand at 28%. And slowly but surely the other major category in this part, ‘What equipment do you use to listen to radio’ is smartphone. So I can see, Vietnam smartphone usage is at 45%, so that means 45% of Vietnamese people use their smartphones to listen to radio. It’s the same for Indonesia at 38% it’s the same for Thailand at 49%. While on the other side, Malaysia at 17%. Malaysia does not listen to radio via smartphone, they prefer radio, or I mean they prefer AM/FM devices, to the assumption is via their cars.

10:03 On listening to music specifically, there is a whopping 77% taken by smartphone for every country. So throughout these several countries that we have listed out 77% of the 3000 participants use their smartphones to listen to music. We can safely say that that’s perfectly fine. And specifically on podcasts, the percentages, or the frequency of people listening to podcast throughout these countries vary quite a lot. Just quite fantastic. So let’s take a look. For Malaysia, every day, they will listen to podcasts is at 27%. And ‘every now and then’ is 9%. ‘Never’ is at 14%. And there’s plenty more here. In comparison: ‘Every day’at 60% for Indonesia, ‘every now and then’ for 10% and ‘never’ for 25%. This is really fascinating, the more deep diving into this information that the more interesting it does, it gets. Everyday at 19% for Thailand, every day 18% for Vietnam, there is a market for each and every country listed. It’s just a matter of trying to aggregate all that, build a community around that. And being able to map out what people search for, what shows they mainly listen to. It’s not like this data set goes all the way to the point of like, what shows do you listen to what you be quite, shall we say invasion of privacy, because if you secretly know what kind of shows I listened to, then I will be a little bit uncomfortable, but that’s a different story altogether.


And on the last note, I would like to highlight this other piece of data right here. The question is, which streaming service do you use most? Spotify is quite up there on the board for most of the country’s except for Thailand and Vietnam, so in Australia, Spotify 56%, Indonesia, 18%, Malaysia 20%, New Zealand, 56%, Philippines 62%, and Singapore 53%. Apparently, Spotify isn’t doing as well in Thailand and Vietnam at 5% and 7%, respectively. And the greatest competitor for streaming services is YouTube for just about every single country. So while Malaysia is at 20% for Spotify, the streaming service they use the most is YouTube at 42%, Singapore 32%, respectively, and Thailand, and Vietnam at 38 and 49%, respectively. So, these are really interesting findings.

12:48 Now, what can we take from all of this? Here I will share my Podlover’s Thoughts, which is a prototype segment that I’ll put in sometime in the near future for these episodes. Spotify is on a good track right now, while they are pushing for podcasters to be included into their platform, they are also allowing that to be part of their main marketing strategies for each and every one of these countries. So though I’m talking about specifically Asia, they’re doing very well, in Philippines at 62%, streaming services, and Malaysia, Indonesia, I’m going to assume that they’re going to grow quite a lot in terms of using Spotify as the main streaming service for say music. Although this data set, this last data set that I’m really clamming down on right now is focusing on audio and media consumption, as well as music, podcasts and radio, which is quite a broad range of things to look for. In this 10 question data set. It is quite, I feel quite optimistic about how the growth of the podcasting market is for these countries. At the very least, I would really want to see Spotify commit to a certain level of community building: where maybe by going into collaborations or partnerships with either independent podcasters or podcasting networks in these countries, to help build them, sponsor them, partner with them and, you know, create value together and then actually establish a formal podcast market for each and every country. If Spotify can help inject resources that way, that will be fantastic. Because then it’ll be easier for research companies say like XtraInsights or, or ScientiaMobile to report better: there will be one formal market where all this kind of data will be aggregated. Listeners will know where to go when they think of the word podcast in their respective countries. And Spotify will be definitely associated that way with them. If Spotify can capitalize on this, this high level growth, and I think of it as high level growth, this bullish market for them for this year, in a world where you have like 63% smartphone usage, that is Android and Spotify has a huge advantage over that than Apple podcast, then I think Spotify is on a good track. I would love to see more and more Spotify regional events. We’ve seen the worldwide summit for Spotify for Podcasters. In Brazil, is there going to be an Asia version? I never know. That would be fantastic. If somebody knows anybody at Spotify, to let them know that we are available, there is demand for podcasting events in Asia, as seen in Asia Podcast Summit and the Awards. That was more than enough excuse for shows from all across the region, to aggregate and coming together and add value and bring these experts to bring in their insights from their countries and from their experiences, which is fantastic. I would love to see Spotify play a big part in that as well. And eventually maybe we can get XtraInsights or ScientiaMobile to do a state of industry report, or a podcast industry report in Asia for these countries, which would be fantastic.

16:07 So personal thoughts, Spotify, you’re doing really great. And the Spotify for Podcasters, the dashboard, making it really easy for people from different hosts to be part of Spotify, which is great, right? It’s just a click of a button for me. I mean, it depends on your host. But for me, it’s just one button, which is great. I hope to see more from all the players and all the podcast creators, the show hosts, the networks, the companies to contribute to these data sets. So that entities that require a critical mass amount of data before they can commit to a decision, if it can contribute to the data, and this data is made available for these entities to come in, then well, Asia’s podcast market would be really stabilize pretty much. It’ll be amazing. It won’t just be Asia Pacific region. data, it’ll be ASEAN region. It’ll be Southeast Asia or be East Asia, it’ll be South Asia as well. And they’ll be fantastic. Either way, this is a golden moment right now, quite a large number of smartphone users in Asia have Android as their main OS, they have Google Podcasts already installed. So if you are a show host, then you should get your show on there. And if they’re not on Google podcasts, listening to their favorite shows on that app, then they might be on Spotify, then you should get your show on there as well. If you’re a brand or a company, and you’re interested in tapping into this, growing listenership across Asia, these two apps are probably what’s up there right now, these two and most likely Castbox as well. I hope I can get in the future, if I could get some some data on listenership by hosting platform per country that will be fantastic. But I might have to reach out to some people that way. But that is for another episode. That’s it for now, for the Market Update for November 2019, or at least for the past few months of 2019. Take care. This is Norman, and I will see you in the next episode. Subscribe in your favorite app, like Spotify, or Castbox or Google Podcasts, or Apple podcast, or wherever you get your show. And reach out to me if you need some better, a little bit of a better understanding of what is happening across Asia. Take care, and see you soon.