Smart speaker usage ‘now reaches 13% of internet users’ in developed markets

Feb 20, 2019 | Ads, Content marketing, Mobile

More than one quarter of respondents indicated integration with services and devices was the most important feature of smart speakers.

More than 13% of internet users surveyed across Australia, Brazil, Canada, Germany, India, Japan, the United Kingdom and the United States had access to a smart speaker in their households in November 2018, according to new research.

Smart speaker penetration ranges from 6 percent in Japan, to 21 percent in the United States, according to business information provider IHS Markit.

Among households with smart speakers surveyed by IHS Markit, 27 percent indicated “integration with services and devices” was the most important feature, “questions and answers” closely followed at 25 percent, while “sound quality” ranked third at 24 percent. Respondents with access to smart speakers powered by Google Assistant or Amazon Alexa were more likely to rate integration as the most important feature, highlighting the benefit of positioning their digital assistants as smart home hubs. Both Amazon and Google are able to leverage their own entertainment services in their propositions, such as access to music streaming and audiobooks.

“Sound quality is often just as important as integration to consumers – if not more important, in some cases – particularly among those with access to speakers from Bose, JBL Link, Panasonic, Sony and other traditional audio brands,” said Fateha Begum, associate director, IHS Markit. “Smart speaker households in India and Brazil were more likely to select sound quality as the most important factor. Among Amazon Echo and Google Home owners, the ability to answer questions was most frequently cited as the most important feature, highlighting the quality of their proprietary digital assistants.”

Digital assistant usage doubles among smart speaker owners

Nearly nine out of ten (89 percent) of households with access to smart speakers reported using a digital assistant in the three-months ending November 2018, compared to just 41 percent of the total sample surveyed.

“Answering a question and checking the news and weather were the top two functions noted in our survey,” Begum said. “However, the use of other features differs by brand, reinforcing the unique platform strategies implemented by each company.”

Multi-speaker households

Across all markets, survey respondents were more likely to have access to multiple Amazon Echo devices, than multiple Google Home devices. On average, 21 percent of households with access to an Amazon Echo, accessed two Echo speakers, with a further 15 percent accessing three or more speakers. In comparison, just 15 percent of Google Home respondents had access to two Google Home speakers, with an additional 15 percent accessing three or more speakers.

“We are expecting to see a lot of announcements around digital assistants and smart speakers at MWC this year,” said Maria Rua Aguete, executive director, IHS Markit. “Operators now understand the importance of having their own digital assistants, to maintain and control the customer experience and network usage.”

The IHS Markit “Smart Speaker Adoption and Usage” report is based on an online survey of 19,286 Internet users in Australia, Brazil, Canada Germany, India, Japan, the United Kingdom and the United States, which was conducted on behalf of IHS Markit by Ipsos-Mori. In India, the survey was conducted among the English-speaking population only. Interviews were conducted online between October 31, 2018 and November 30, 2018.

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