Edison Research and NPR released new data last week based on a survey and ethnographic study conducted in Q2 2017. Voicebot has reported extensively on some of the findings released earlier, but new data in the updated report caught our eye as important. One set of questions asked Amazon Echo and Google Home owners about the breadth of smart speaker use. Half of smart speaker owners reported using them for 6 or more tasks and 25% use them for 11 or more tasks.
Voice Interaction is Becoming a Habit
Voicebot caught up with Bryan Moffett from National Public Media (a division of NPR) that sponsored the study. He has this to say:
I think this new data reinforces the impact smart speakers are having on consumers. People are finding them useful for a growing number of tasks beyond audio, and as brands and developers focus efforts on finding new uses, that will expand quickly.
Bryan emphasizes that this data suggests voice interaction is quickly becoming a habit for multiple use cases. There is widespread acknowledgement that smart speakers like Amazon Alexa and Google Home are popular for music listening. However, the devices are not restricted to a narrow set of use cases. Even games and jokes are features used “regularly” by smart speaker owners.
These findings suggest that smart speakers with voice assistants are being viewed as broad utilities similar to mobile devices. It is an important development because new devices and user interfaces go through a period of user discovery and habit formation. Once the habits are formed, the devices tend to have staying power. The Edison/NPR study data suggests that smart speakers are becoming part of consumers’ daily routines. These habits will logically extend to greater voice interface usage on mobile devices and foreshadow a prominent future for voice assistants.