Users are picking up smart speakers at a much faster rate than they did smartphones or tablets. Despite nearly everyone now owning a smartphone, research from NPR and Edison Research suggests that the uptake of over the last three years is ‘outpacing the adoption rates of smartphones and tablets’.
The US is by far the biggest market for these types of devices, with one in six Americans now said to own a smart speaker. That proves that Google and Amazon’s strategy to sell their offerings at a loss is clearly paying off.
In even bigger news, users are not just buying smart speakers, but they’re actually spending quite a bit of time using them. The survey suggests that just under 2,000 people found themselves using a smart speaker at times where they would typically be on some other kind of device. That includes listening to the radio, playing with their smartphone, watching TV, reading a magazine, or even browsing the web on a computer or tablet. The speakers have also become somewhat of a conversation piece, with 66% of respondents admitting that they use their speaker to entertain friends and family.
Technology can sometimes be really exciting in the first month of usage but then fall by the wayside after that. It seems smart speakers aren’t suffering from tech fatigue as quickly as some other products, however. Over half of users asked said that they use their smart speaker even more than they did in the first month of ownership.
While smart speakers are often spoken about in the context of controlling the smart home or listening to music, many owners are also using the devices to shop. That will be good news for Amazon, as 22% of users said that they use their smart speaker to buy new products. It’s no surprise that the most popular products purchased are household supplies (58%), especially considering that 21% of users keep their smart speaker in the kitchen, although over half keep theirs in the living room.
Amazon is clearly the dominant player in the smart speaker market. Of the 800 people who said they owned a smart speaker, 709 admitted to owning one with Alexa, 160 noted that they owned a Google Home, while a healthy 69 people had both. 820 people said that they didn’t have a smart speaker at all.
While these results are from the US, the UK has also seen demand for smart speaker soar. Maplin estimates that 38% of consumers are interested in a voice-activated device this side of the pond, with the Amazon Echo once again being the popular choice.