eMarketer is forecasting that 35.6 million Americans will use a voice activated device like Amazon Echo or Google Home monthly in 2017.
This year, 35.6 million Americans will use a voice-activated assistant device at least once a month. That’s a jump of 128.9% over last year.
This number is pretty close to the 32 million smart speaker device mark that VoiceLabs estimates will be in use by the end of 2017.
Amazon Echo to Claim 71% Market Share
The report also goes on to estimate that Amazon Echo will claim 71% market share to 24% for Google Home. All other contenders are expected to share less than 6% of the market in 2017. That must be disappointing to Microsoft which is expected to reveal the Cortana-enabled Harman Kardon Invoke this month and Apple which is in the news recently (here, here, and here) related to its smart speaker initiatives. At the same time, it reinforces the fact that Amazon is selling a lot of Echos and Dots leading to its need for more manufacturing capacity.
Voice Assistant Use on Mobile Also Expected to Climb
eMarketer also looked at voice assistant use on mobile and devices other than the smart speaker segment. That use case is also expected to grow substantially.
This year, 60.5 million Americans will use Siri, Cortana or another virtual assistant at least once a month. That equates to 27.5% of smartphone users, or nearly one-fifth of the population.
Voice assistants have quickly become a mass market digital service. The growth rate is comparable to the early years of smartphone adoption.
Millennials Lead Adoption
The study also concludes that nearly 40% of millennials will be using voice-first digital assistants monthly by 2019. At that point millennials will account for 59% of voice assistant users up from 51% in 2016. That will be driven by 69% growth in monthly users. Gen X and Baby Boomer growth will be more tepid by comparison with only 28% and 17% growth of monthly users between 2016-2019.
Buried in all of this data is the fact that eMarketer found that 45 million consumers were using voice assistants on their phone or smart speaker devices in 2016 and that the number will climb 47% to 67 million in 2019.
This data points to robust user growth but may be a little more conservative than Gartner’s recent forecast that 75% of US households will have a voice enabled smart speaker by the end of 2020. Voicebot analysis suggest that would be an audience of 258 million U.S. users. Part of the difference may be accounted for by Gartner forecasting one more year of growth between 2019 and 2020 and the fact that eMarketer presents monthly user numbers as opposed to total users. Either way, we have another signal that the voice assistant user base is growing fast and is already very large.