5 must-read stats about the smart speaker market

Smart speakers have been the talk of the trade press over the past 12 months. And with Amazon, Google and Apple all getting in on the act, it’s easy to see why. But how developed is this market? And how have consumers reacted to this new technology?

Featured as one of our key trends to watch in our latest report, we’ve scoured through the data to bring you 5 must-read stats about the smart speaker market:

1. 9% of UK households owned an Amazon Echo just one year after release

As this stat from Radiocentre attests, smart speakers have been an instant hit with consumers. And this only looks set to continue. Amazon recently announced that the Echo Dot, the firm’s entry level smart speaker, was the top selling product across all of Amazon.com over the Christmas period.

In many ways, the appeal of smart speakers should come as no surprise. As Linden Tibbets, CEO of IFTTT and one of the experts we spoke to in our research puts it:

“Voice is in many ways the most intuitive and most human interface. It’s one of the first things we learn… Because it’s so fundamental to the way in which humans interact with their world today, it’s just such an easy bet to make, that humans will want to interact with your brand and service through voice.”

2. Ownership of the Amazon Echo is highest amongst men and 25 – 44 year olds

Another key takeout of Radiocentre’s research is that ownership of the Amazon Echo tends to be concentrated amongst young males. But if Amazon’s recent product launch – and the extreme gender targeting of its advertising (!) is anything to go by – the firm is looking to broaden smart speakers’ appeal. The latest Echo product – the Echo Look – is positioned as a hands-free camera and style assistant for aspiring fashionistas and, as the product video indicates, it’s firmly targeted at women.

3. Amazon dominates the smart speaker market in the US, with 76% market share

As the first to market, Amazon is the dominant player in the smart speaker market, having sold an estimated 15 million products in the US alone, according to Consumer Intelligence Research Partners. Google has the remaining 24% of the market and Apple is also looking to make its mark. Today, Apple began accepting preorders for its own smart speaker, the HomePod. This comes almost four years after the Echo was first launched. Apple’s late arrival to the market is no coincidence. By watching and learning from its competitors, the tech giant may well be able to develop a superior product.

4. Smart speakers are most commonly used for playing music or listening to audio books

So with smart speakers really taking off, how are they being used by consumers? According to VoiceLabs, the most common use case for the technology is to play music or listen to audio books with almost half of owners (48%) using smart speakers for this purpose. Another interesting use case for smart speakers is to interact with and control other smart home devices – almost a third (29%) of owners say they do this.

5. Almost a fifth (17%) of Amazon Echo users use their device to order items from the Amazon store

And what about voice-activated shopping? RBC Capital Markets reports that almost a fifth of Amazon Echo users are already doing this. Given how early stage the smart speaker market is, this is a really significant figure. As the market matures and more brands start to build their own Skills and Actions (the smart speaker equivalent of an app) to tap into this opportunity, we expect voice-activated shopping to rise, and therefore become a major use case for these devices.

Want to learn more about smart speakers, their future growth potential and the opportunities they might provide for research? Download our latest report: Tech Trends Transforming The Insight Industry.