comScore

The latest data from comScore shows smart speaker penetration has reached 20% of U.S. Wi-Fi enabled homes. This is an increase of 50% in just three months bringing the total to 18.7 million U.S. homes that are using a smart speaker.

The latest comScore Connected Home data is from February and shows a dramatic increase of smart speaker usage coming as the result of a robust holiday season where many of these devices were gifted to friends and family. “Looking at the trending data over the past nine months, we see the holiday season is when adoption peaked,” senior director of emerging products Susan Engleson wrote in a blog post.

Lower price points and a larger variety of smart speakers served as fuel for the increase, such as the Google Home Mini, priced at $29 through the holiday season, as well as an expanded Amazon lineup featuring the Echo, Echo Plus, Echo Show, Echo Spot and the Echo Look. Amazon’s entry-level device, the Echo Dot, was also listed at $29.

November increases were the result of the smart speakers prominently featured in Black Friday advertising and promotions. Apple missed the holiday rush as their HomePod was not released until February. “With a price tag of $399, I anticipate adoption of the HomePod is going to be much slower than its less expensive competitors, mainly attracting Apple devotees such as the people who have purchased the iPhone X,” Engleson said.

The February findings also saw the demographics of smart speaker owners changing. The lower price range for the devices is causing the demo to shift from traditional early adopters to the early majority, comScore discovered. High income homes continue to over-index in smart speaker ownership, however the report found that lower income households are gaining ground.

Data also showed that smart speakers were just about as common in homes with the youngest (18-24) and oldest (65+) age segments. “I can imagine in just a year or two, a smart speaker will be a must-have for incoming college freshmen,” Engleson added. The appeal voice activated devices have for children has Engleson saying, “The 2018 holiday season could see a device in every child’s bedroom.”

Households with multiple smart speakers are on the rise, from 20% in June 2017 to 30% in February 2018. “With more households owning multiple smart speakers, the foundation has been laid for the continued expansion and adoption of the fully smart home – as the smart speaker is often the gateway to enable a smart home.”