I met a phone psychic a couple years back. He was a non-believer and completely cynical about his clients. His talent consisted of the ability to sound sympathetic and to phrase advise in mystical sounding terms. Time, though, were tough, and he complained that there was a lot of competition.
A few months ago I met an "intuitive psychic", also at a coffee shop. She betrayed no disbelief or cynicism, but her conversation was also mostly complaints about how difficult it was to make a living at this. She was always having to deal with competition and official red tape.
A third "psychic" I met, mostly a tarot reader, was amateur and did it on the side (though she did charge a fee). She seemed sincere (believed the tarot held water). One day I happened to sit at the next table while she was conducting a reading. It was clear that the appeal lay in her paying deep attention to the person's problems, and responding with a tone of authority derived, I suppose, from her being in touch with "higher powers" or some such. The net effect was of a therapy session, with mystical dynamics being substituted for psychological. The person feels they're getting good advise from someone paying close attention and who is in touch with some superior system of ethics or behavior. Like a therapist, a "psychic" is on your side, unlike a friend or relative who might simply tell you to stop whinning or stop making some obvious chronic mistake.
The fact I've met so many "psychics" in the course of daily events might be coincidence, or it might mean there are lots of them out there, all competing for the business of the believers.
The increase in ads for psychics doesn't necessarily mean there are more believers than ever, just more people wanting to make a living at it. The number of advertisements always only indicates the number of people trying to sell something, not the number buying. I have the feeling the standard percentage of believers is simply now being serviced by an increased number of "psychics".