Time to Turn Up the Volume on Smart Speakers
As more consumers buy in, voice-activated speakers reach 18% of US homes
Smart speakers are going mainstream. About 43 million Americans are now speaking commands to Amazon Alexa and Google Home devices on their kitchen counters and nightstands. Voice-activated speakers are being consumed by 18% of U.S. homes, up from 7% a year ago, according to a new report from Edison Research and NPR.
The uptick comes as smart speakers expand from tech-savvy “first adopters”, who have owned devices for more than a year, to a larger group of “early mainstream” consumer adoption which is creating a boon for audio content providers.
“Those homeowners who have had smart speakers for at least a year are now the number one device for consuming audio,” noted Tom Webster, Senior VP of Edison Research. “This has profound ramifications for anyone in media and advertising. For millions of Americans, smart speakers are truly the new radio.”
Edison reports that smart speaker owners use their device to listen to audio more than on any other device, including AM/FM radios, computers, and speakers connected to smartphones. Among all smart speaker owners, playing music was the most popular request, while, among all audio formats, news and current affairs were the most popular content with smart speaker owners.
From live streaming to podcasting, broadcasters can benefit from the smart speaker revolution. Consider these new findings:
- 72% of early mainstreamers and 69% of early adopters listen to news and current events via smart speakers
- 37% of owners are listening to 2+ hours of news per week on smart speakers
- 39% of early mainstreamers listen to at least one podcast per week on smart speakers, as do 32% of first adopters
- 29% of early mainstream owners say their smart speaker is replacing time spent with TV
- 38% of early mainstreamers say they purchased the device in hopes of reducing screen time, as did 20% of early adopters.
As the user base grows, early mainstream owners are using smart speakers for more commerce and everyday tasks, including ordering food, making calls, getting traffic reports, researching products, and shopping. From early adopters to early mainstream owners, all are consistent in their desire to add more speakers to their homes. Among mainstream consumers, 58% want additional devices, while 44% of first adopters planning to buy additional smart speakers
For media companies, this data reaffirms early actions to the smart speaker space is critical and education about available skills to the consumer marketplace must start now. At Futuri Media, a global leader in SaaS technology for broadcast and digital publication, we believe voice-activated technology offers more than just significant upside. By creating custom skills, media companies can expand their audience, increase engagement, provide new distribution for content, and deliver a fresh advertising channel for clients.
With our custom-built Alexa skills, our clients can deliver high-quality streaming audio and on-demand content across Amazon’s speakers, which include the Echo, Dot, Show and Tap. That includes your podcasts, live audio and even exclusive content for smart speakers.