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Smart speaker penetration in U.S. households strong says study

17 January 2018

Smart speakers are big business, with about 39 million Americans now owning one according to a recent poll undertaken by U.S. radio syndicator NPR and Edison research. 16% said that they own a smart speaker, which scales up to around 39 million people in the US.

Amazon rarely discusses exact numbers but, according to the study, the split falls in Amazon's favour with 11% owning an Alexa-powered device, towering over Google Home's 4% taking. In fact, analysts believe that both Amazon and Google likely lost a few dollars per unit during the holiday season, where they were discounting their smaller form factor devices to $29 for the Amazon Echo Dot and $50 for the Google Home Mini, for example.

The survey of just under 2,000 individuals found that the time people spend using their smart speaker replaces time spent with other devices including the radio, smart phone, TV, tablet, computer, and publications like magazines.

January has already seen a flurry of new research into smart speakers, timed to coincide with the CES show in Las Vegas. 65 percent of users say they wouldn't go back to life without a smart speaker. Users spent time using speakers to find restaurants and businesses, playing games, setting timers and alarms, controlling smart home devices, sending messages, ordering food, and listening to music and books.

At any rate, the first survey was conducted on smart speaker owners and non-owners alike, while the online survey was focused exclusively on the latter, with the goal of obtaining more information on general smart speaker usage habits. About a third of smart speaker owners who participated in the survey said they used the device to control other smart home devices.

Smart speaker adoption has grown leaps and bounds over the past year.

Smart speaker penetration in U.S. households strong says study