Edison Research and NPR released a new study today (Smart Audio Report Fall/Winter 2017) revealing that 16% of American adults (18+) own a smart speaker. This figure represents roughly 39 million people and indicates a 128% increase in smart speaker ownership over the past year according to Edison. This represents only adults. Voicebot analysis of U.S. Census data show that total smart speaker reach including children exceeds 50 million.
Smart Speakers Reflect aCommunal Experience
The study findings reflect the fact that multiple people in a household use the devices, often when they are together. Survey participants reported that they use smart speakers 53% of the time with another household member and another 39% said this happens occasionally.
Rapid Adoption Transformed Smart Speakers Into A Consumer Channel with Reach
The current smart speaker user base represents an audience size that makes brands and retailers take note. Both are interested in finding ways to reach consumers at scale to promote products and conduct transactions. A large user base is often a pre-condition for attention from big marketing departments. Brands and retailers represent a small proportion of the 25,000+ Alexa skills and nearly 2,000 Google Assistant apps available today. These new growth numbers are likely to accelerate brand and retail presence on voice assistant platforms.
In addition, consumer usage appears to be increasing. The Smart Audio Report found that over 50% of smart speaker owners used the devices more often than their first month of ownership.
This data reaffirms that smart speakers are not fad items and are likely to become permanent fixtures in many households for some time to come. That is exactly the type of consumer channel that will bring even reluctant brands and retailers into the voice era. Edison collected the data during a telephone survey of 1,010 adults the last week of December and combined it with a more in-depth online survey of smart speaker owners in November. You can download the full report here.