Nearly one in five U.S. adults — 47.3 million, or 20 percent of the country’s adult population — has access to a smart speaker, according to Voicebot.ai research. In this case, “access to a smart speaker” means having a smart speaker in the home, even if the adult is not the primary user. Unlike smartphones and other personal technologies, not every person in the home is likely to have one. Thus, it’s likely most apt to compare smart speakers to TVs, which took 13 years to reach the 50 million mark versus just two years for smart speakers.
Furthermore, it took four years for Internet access to reach 50 million users and two years for Facebook to reach that milestone, reports TechCrunch. While none of these comparisons are spot-on (cost and rates of technology adoption should be factored in, for example), they do provide an interesting way to understand the rapid adoption of smart speakers.
The Voicebot.ai research is based on a survey of 1,057 U.S. online adults conducted in January 2018, “but device ownership was adjusted downward to compensate for the fact that online adults are 88.5 percent of the U.S. population,” reports TechCrunch.
The survey revealed that 57.8 percent of smart speaker owners identify as male, while 42.2 percent identify as female. A key finding is that nearly two-thirds of respondents own just one device. This point presents an interesting competitive element for manufacturers like Amazon, Google, and Apple, which are all battling to offer the premier home smart speaker. Just 19.3 percent of respondents own two smart speakers, and fewer own three or four.
As for how (and/or where) consumers are using the smart speakers most: 45.9 percent use it in the living room, 41.4 percent use it in the kitchen, 36.8 percent use it in the bedroom, and 10.9 percent use it in a home office. And which speakers are they using most? With 71.9 percent of the device install base, Amazon has a solid lead in the ongoing home speaker race. Google holds 18.4 percent and “other” devices make up 9.7 percent.
“The Amazon Echo and Echo Dot command the market, with nearly two-thirds share, largely because they’ve been out longer,” according to TechCrunch. “But newer sales indicate a preference for the smaller form factor and low-priced smart devices, like Echo Dot and Google Home Mini, the latter which outsold Google Home in three months’ time.”
Inside Amazon’s Quest to Make a Different Kind of Echo, Engadget, 3/8/18
The 5 Best Smart Speakers with Alexa and Google, Wired, 3/1/18
Google, Amazon Are Why Spotify Needs Its Own Speaker, Forbes, 3/5/18
Microsoft Drops ‘Hey Cortana’ in Favor of Just ‘Cortana’ on Smart Speakers, The Verge, 3/7/18