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Survey confirms smart speakers are the next big thing

A survey of nearly 2,000 Americans proves that smart speakers are the next big thing, with respondents reporting using the devices over their smartphones.

Published onJanuary 15, 2018

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  • A survey of nearly 2,000 Americans proves that smart speakers are the new hot product.
  • Respondents report using smart speakers over other devices in their homes, including their smartphones.
  • 65 percent of respondents say they would not want to go back to life without a smart speaker.

Smartphone ownership may have flatlined, and tablet ownership is actually declining, but one piece of technology is bucking the trend and getting bigger every day: smart speakers. The voice-activated virtual assistants from companies like Google and Amazon are now owned by over 39 million Americans, a remarkable statistic considering the market is only a few years old.

NPR and Edison Research surveyed about 2,000 Americans and found some incredibly interesting results. As one might expect, smart speaker owners predominantly use the devices for alarms, timers, internet searches, and listening to music. But smart speakers are also replacing the use of other technology, like traditional AM/FM radio, television, and even smartphones.

Most people keep their smart speaker in their living room and report using them frequently to entertain family and guests, usually by requesting music or asking general questions. Since the devices are voice-activated and always on, it’s far easier to simply say, “Hey Google, what is this Knuckles meme my son is talking about,” than it would be to decipher your son’s explanation.

The devices are also used for shopping. Users report asking their smart speaker for reviews of products, and then a little less than a quarter of survey respondents said they bought products directly through the speaker. A very healthy 65 percent of users say they would not want to go back to life without a smart speaker in their homes, and many would be interested in having smart speaker technology in their cars as well.

With stats like these and virtual assistants the star of the show at CES 2018, you can expect to see a lot more smart speakers released soon.

Apple is notably absent from the market so far, as its Homepod unit was announced but hasn’t hit shelves. With 39 million people already owning devices, will Apple be too late to gain a foothold?

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