Strategy Analytics

With half of smart speaker owners now saying they can’t imagine living without their voice-activated device, and seven out of 10 swearing they’re much more useful than they expected, a new report from Strategy Analytics offers an additional boon for broadcasters. It also reveals that the most popular user app is “listening to music or radio.”

The firm’s newly released “Smart Speaker User Survey: Global Results” offers evidence of just how much of an influence smart speakers like the Amazon Echo and Google Home are already having on the lives of those who use them. The report says that 49% of users said they could not imagine living without a smart speaker, and nearly two thirds (65%) say they have greatly improved the way they use technology at home. Even more, at 70%, believe smart speakers are much more useful than they had expected.

The most popular smart speaker applications, according to Strategy Analytics, are listening to music or radio (91% do this at least weekly), getting weather information (73%), finding out general information (69%) and listening to the news (67%).

David Mercer, principal analyst and the report’s author, notes, “Smart speakers are achieving some of the highest satisfaction ratings noted for any emerging consumer technology. The evidence from this research suggests that they are here to stay and that many people who have not yet taken the plunge are likely to purchase their first smart speaker in the next year or so.” In fact, 25% of those who don’t currently use a smart speaker say they will buy one within the next year, the report says.

Adds David Watkins, director, Smart Speakers at Strategy Analytics, “For most users, smart speakers have already become one of the most important technologies in the connected home. The convenience and simplicity of voice control and interaction have helped to change the way people are using different devices and have important implications for how applications, services and content will evolve in the future.”

Among other highlights of the report: More than half of smart speaker users have installed more than one device in their home. The most popular location is the living room or family room (64%), followed by the bedroom (33%) and the kitchen (29%). Also, 82% of homes with smart speakers use at least one Amazon device, while 29% use a Google product. JBL (7%) and Apple (6%) come next. Looking forward, Strategy Analytics predicts that global demand for smart speakers will reach 71.6 million units in 2018, an annual increase of 115%.

This latest survey from the research firm was fielded online with 4,013 users of smart speakers in July and August 2018 in the U.S., France, Germany and the UK.