As we reach having spent one year at home due to the pandemic, people’s daily lives have changed and many are seeking time out from busy schedules to unwind wherever possible.

Whether it’s peaceful meditation to reflect and reset, brushing up on nutrition for healthy and balanced eating, or even listening to an audiobook at bedtime to help drift off to a peaceful slumber, new Spotify data shows a rise in interest for wellness content as people have found new ways to adapt to staying indoors and looking after their mental health.

To look at how people have switched up their lifestyle and stayed positive during lockdown, Spotify has revealed new trends in wellness podcasts and audio content over the last 12 months to reflect how audio fans have been inspired to look after their wellbeing and are continuing to do so even a year on.

Spotify also shines a light on how listeners are even looking beyond wellness podcasts for self-help as well. On a professional level, users are tapping into business podcasts to hear more on the likes of mindset, personal development and even creative inspiration during lockdown.

Top categories

In the past year alone, wellness content has seen a 116% increase worldwide in listeners accessing these podcasts on Spotify. Across the world, wellness categories that proved popular on Spotify were self-improvement, meditation and nutrition.

Just some of the favourite self-improvement, self-help and meditation podcasts on Spotify streamed in South Africa were 7 Good Minutes Daily Self-Improvement Podcast with Clyde Lee DennisUnlocking Us with Brené Brown and Guided Sleep Meditations.

Minutes streamed

On average, Spotify users here in South Africa listened on average to over 36.7 million minutes of wellness podcasts daily between March 2020 and February 2021.

The most popular wellness podcasts overall by South Africans include Get Sleepy: Sleep meditation and stories,Motivational Speeches and On Purpose with Jay Shetty.  

Beyond wellness

Listeners are also looking beyond wellness podcasts during the pandemic, with users delving into business and technology podcasts to broaden their skills and knowledge in new areas such as entrepreneurship and learning new skills. Between January 2020 and March 2021, streams for this category have increased by 73% globally.

It’s clear that listeners have been looking for a productivity boost. According to a recent study*, a third cite that audio is the number one key driver to success during productive moments. Spotify also found that nearly 75% of respondents agreed that the type of audio needs to be tailored to the activity.

South Africans are listening to the likes of Think Fast, Talk Smart: Communication Techniques and The Knowledge Project to sharpen their skill set.

*Survey was conducted with 4,000 adult respondents across the U.S. and UK, exploring what productivity means to each of them and how they manage productivity in their daily lives. The report, published in March 2021, also included a qualitative diary with six American participants.


Top 5 most popular Wellness categories on Spotify globally since March 2020:

  1. Self-help
  2. Self-improvement
  3. Meditation
  4. Relaxation
  5. Nutrition

Top 10 most popular Wellness podcasts on Spotify in South Africa since March 2020:

  1. Get Sleepy: Sleep meditation and stories
  2. Motivational Speeches
  3. On Purpose with Jay Shetty
  4. Deep Sleep Sounds
  5. 7 Good Minutes Daily Self-Improvement Podcast with Clyde Lee Dennis
  6. Unlocking Us with Brené Brown
  7. Guided Sleep Meditations 
  8. Meditation Life Skills Podcast – How To Meditate 
  9. Teenager Therapy 
  10. Affirmation Babe

Top 10 most streamed Business and Technology podcasts on Spotify in South Africa since January 2020:

  1. The Money Show 
  2. The Tim Ferriss Show
  3. The GaryVee Audio Experience
  4. Think Fast, Talk Smart: Communication Techniques
  5. BizNews Radio
  6. Freakonomics Radio
  7. The Knowledge Project
  8. Lex Fridman Podcast
  9. Darknet Diaries
  10. Personal Finance with Warren Ingram