January 15, 2018
NPR and Edison Research released a report this week indicating that about one in six Americans (39 million people) now own a smart speaker, up 128 percent from last January. “Amazon’s Echo speakers are still in the lead, the report says, as 11 percent now own an Amazon Alexa device compared with 4 percent who own a Google Home product,” reports TechCrunch. Amazon and Google promoted their devices heavily and cut prices during the holiday shopping season. “The Echo Dot became a top seller across its site and by manufacturers through the Black Friday weekend.”
While the companies may have lost money on each unit, the strategy fostered market share and continued adoption, “with 7 percent of Americans reporting they acquired at least one smart speaker between Black Friday and the end of December, and 4 percent saying they acquired their first smart speaker during the holidays.”
Respondents indicated they are using the devices to control their TVs, stream music, operate smart home devices, and more.
“The research indicated that smart home functionality was in the minds of 64 percent of users, who say they bought the speakers because they plan on using them to control smart home devices,” explains TechCrunch. “66 percent said they want to entertain family and friends with the speakers — for example, by doing things like playing music, asking general questions, telling jokes, playing games, getting news and weather or sports scores, and more.”