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Study: Now Nearly 120 Million Smart Speakers in U.S.

Since first becoming widely available to consumers in 2015 with the launch of Amazon’s Echo, the buzz surrounding smart speakers hasn’t slowed down. In fact, according to a recent report from NPR and Edison Research, it’s only continued to gain steam.

The Smart Audio Report revealed that 21% of US adults (53 million) own a smart speaker, up from 18% (43 million) in the second half of 2018. The report states there was a total of 14 million new smart speaker owners in all of 2018.

The number of smart speakers in U.S. households skyrocketed by 78% over the course of a year, from 66.7 million in December of 2017 to 118.5 million in December 2018. The holiday season likely helped spur this growth, with 8% of people receiving a smart speaker as a gift. Another contributing factor is heightened awareness of these devices, which grew from 75% to 77% during the same time period.

There’s also been an increase in those who own multiple devices, with 22% reportedly owning two devices and 30% owning three or more.

Smart_Speaker_Ownership

It’s possible that those numbers will continue increasing as time goes on, as the data reported that 30% of smart speaker owners are “somewhat likely” or “very likely” to purchase another device in the next six months.

Although adoption is on the rise, there remains a great deal of uncertainty as to how consumers are utilizing smart speakers for retail purposes. The Information reported in August of last year that only 2% of those who own Amazon Alexa devices bought something via voice. eMarketer provided a more optimistic projection in December 2018, predicting that 27% of smart speaker users will make a purchase through the device this year.

It appears that although consumers aren’t necessarily utilizing their devices for purchasing, they are still becoming an increasingly important component of other actions completed along these journeys.

A study from Adobe revealed consumer’s usage of voice throughout their shopping journeys. The top three activities included products search/research (47%), creating shopping lists (43%) and price comparison (32%). Only a quarter of respondents utilized voice to place a one-time order for delivery.

As smart speakers and voice adoption continue to increase in popularity and be utilized along various stages of the purchasing journey, brands will need to continue working to find best practices for determining strategies that address consumer’s various needs on these devices.

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