"Afternoon Delight" charted well in New Zealand, peaking at #5. In Australia it was a #6 hit (Adelaide radio station 5KA was first to pick up the single, making it #1 in South Australia). In the UK, it reached #18 and was used as theme to a weekly show of the same title on London's Capital Radio, hosted by Duncan Johnson, and from 1980 on an afternoon show using the same title, broadcast every weekday at Mercia Sound in Coventry, presented by Stuart Linnell. It became a US #1 single on July 10, 1976 and earned a gold record. "Afternoon Delight" also reached #1 in Canada.
Concurrent with the Starland Vocal Band version, country singer Johnny Carver's cover went Top 10 on BillboardHot Country Singles. In 1983, the Circle Jerks also covered it as one of the six covers on "Golden Shower of Hits (Jerks on 45)", which appears on their album Golden Shower of Hits. In the 2004 film, Anchorman: The Legend of Ron Burgundy, the song is sung by the news crew in choir and referenced multiple times and came with a music video in the bonus disc. British experimental folk music band Current 93 used an industrial-style cover as an introduction to performances of their 2009 album. Claude François sang it in French as "Dimanche après-midi". In season two of the television series Arrested Development, the episode "Afternoon Delight" sees several characters singing the song at various points, often without knowledge of the song's subject matter. The popular TV show Glee also covered it in their episode "Sexy", with Dianna Agron, Jayma Mays, Mark Salling, Lea Michele, and John Stamos singing. It was also used in the movie Politically Correct University (PCU) in which frat brothers from a rival fraternity set the stereo to play it over and over again on high volume and locking the doors thereby forcing the rival fraternity to have to listen to it over and over again.