Let’s dig deep into the most popular smart home device: smart speakers. This article is based on a Q3 2021 451 Alliance connected customer survey focused on the latest trends in consumer smart home technology.
The survey results show Amazon continues to be the leader in the smart speaker space with the three most popular devices, the Echo (40% of respondents own one), Echo Dot (28%) and Echo Show (13%). In fact, these devices, along with the Echo Plus (11%), account for four of the top 10 models currently owned by smart speaker users.
Yet Google has found its footing as a solid second, and has four of the top 10 smart speakers in use: Home (13%), Home Mini (11%), Nest Audio (7%) and Nest Mini (7%). Apple’s HomePod (6%) and Facebook’s Portal (6%) are both holding steady.
Similar to overall smart home device usage, the survey shows differing levels of smart speaker ownership based on household income. Less than 30% of households making less than $50,000 own a smart speaker, while more than 50% of households making more than $100,000 own them. Regardless of their usefulness, smart speakers are still viewed as novelties or luxury items, and many households do not feel they are able to allocate the funds necessary to purchase one.
In past surveys, Amazon backed up its leading market position with the highest satisfaction ratings among smart speaker owners. While its ratings are still high, Google’s devices are now being rated on par with Amazon. Amazon’s Echo Show (71%) has the most respondents who say they are very satisfied with their device, followed closely by Google’s Home (70%). The Echo (69%) and Echo Dot (68%) also have ratings on the higher end, while the Echo Plus (61%) and Home Mini (61%) are comparable, yet a bit behind the rest of the pack.
Amazon still clearly leads Google in frequency of use. The survey finds that 70% of Echo Show and 54% of Echo Dot owners use their smart speakers daily. And while the Echo is only at 53% daily usage, this is still ahead of the Google Home (45%) and Home Mini (31%). As the smart speaker market continues to mature, it will be important to see whether Google is able to produce higher-rated devices that actually steal market share from Amazon’s products.
One cautionary note is that, at least currently, Google may be releasing devices on par with Amazon, but Amazon users continue to find their devices more useful that Google users.
Smart Speaker Use Cases
We also asked 451 Alliance members who currently own a smart speaker to identify the ways they use their devices. The most common use was streaming online music (64%), followed by getting weather (51%) and clock/timer (43%). In fact, nine of the top 10 use cases all involve some kind of data or information access. The one usage case not data-related was controlling smart home devices.
The percentage of respondents controlling smart home devices with a smart speaker is up slightly. In a separate question, we asked respondents if owning a smart speaker has resulted in them purchasing additional smart home devices. While only 39% said yes, an additional 38% said no, but they are considering it.
This finding supports our belief that smart speakers can be important gateway devices that motivate consumers to buy additional devices for their homes.
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