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Smart speaker wars about to get brutal: reported 97% of owners stick to one brand

The smart speaker industry hasn't been around for long, but brand loyalty is already a major factor.

Published onFebruary 6, 2019

Google Home vs Amazon Alexa

The smart speaker sector is a burgeoning one, but it looks like brand loyalty is already a major factor. In fact, new research suggests that the vast majority of U.S. smart speaker owners stick to one brand.

A report by Parks Associates (h/t: 9to5Google) shows that a massive 97 percent of U.S. owners stay with one brand of speaker. The research also revealed that the entry-level Google Home Mini and Amazon Echo Dot are (unsurprisingly) the most common smart speakers found in these households. But the firm says this brand loyalty opens the door for manufacturers to “upsell” premium speakers to these owners.

We can think of a couple of reasons why users would stick with one brand instead of diversifying their smart speakers. For one, it’s much easier to sync several Google Home speakers or Amazon Echo gadgets than it is to sync a mixture of them.

Another possible reason is familiarity with a chosen assistant’s capabilities and how to trigger them. I could definitely see myself saying “Alexa” to the Google Home if I had several brands of smart speaker in the household.

The report also gives us a breakdown of ownership by brand, claiming that two-thirds of smart speaker households in the U.S. own an Amazon Echo device. Meanwhile, almost one-third of households are said to own the Google Home family of speakers.

Parks Associates senior analyst Kristen Hanich says smart speaker households are buying multiple speakers for various rooms. The analyst says this creates an opportunity to “bundle new and premium products with smart speaker sales.”

A representative also confirmed to Android Authority that the average number of speakers in a smart speaker household was sitting at 1.4 as of Q2 2018. So while we’re not quite at the point where every household has several speakers, but the trend is certainly there.

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