In 2018 between 21st May and 1st June National Public Radio, otherwise known as NPR, teamed up with Edison Research to produce the Smart Audio Report.
This was a report on the smart speaker. For example an Amazon Alexa or Google Home.
It’s a fascinating read.
Did you know 43 million people in the US own a smart speaker? That’s 18% of the adult population. A year before it was 7%. That’s a growth of more than 2 and half times. Huge numbers, considering they have only been in existence during the past 2 years!
As a business owner, I believe it makes sense to understand what’s going on around us. We can’t escape this growing trend. Voice assistance technology is here and it’s not going away. It’s affecting all of us. That includes your prospects and customers.
The demographics of ownership are pretty broad across the ages, it isn’t skewed in any way towards a particular age range. They are universally popular.
Another stat from the report:
74% those asked had owned a smart speaker for less than a year and 26% for one year or more. Again this speaks to the growth we have seen in the last year. Also there’s now a trend to have more than one device in the house. It’s becoming the way people listen to audio.
People are buying more of them. The top reason to own more is to have the ability to control appliances or lights in more rooms in the house. Second is to listen to the news in more rooms in your house. Like I say there’s no denying people are replacing radios with smart speakers.
70% of people are listening to the news on their speakers.
The most popular type of content people want to listen to is news and current affairs, second is comedy and the third is music, arts and culture.
In a week a third of the people that had bought a speaker in less than a year were spending 1 – 2 hours listening to news programming. Around a sixth were listening to 4 hours and more of news programming.
Every day I say “Alexa what’s the news?”
This is where it gets fun, people are requesting their smart speaker to do all kinds of things.
As well as get the news they play music, get the weather, answer a general question, set a timer or alarm, and check the time. More mainstream activities are happening. These include getting a sports score, listening to the radio, receiving reminders, getting the traffic updates, checking a calendar, and looking up recipes. Interestingly they are using smart speakers to find restaurants and businesses in their local area.
Remember the results you hear for Amazon Alexa and Google Home will differ because Alexa replies on Bing and obviously Google Home uses Google.
The survey says people are asking Alexa questions between 5 and 9 at night. Thus somewhere tonight after dinner, in your local area, there’s someone asking their smart speaker about a problem that may relate directly to your business.
It’s something as business owners we need to wrap our heads around.
Significant podcast consumption is taking place, though people are still, in the main, listening to podcasts through a mobile device on a smart speaker. It’s currently not easy to listen back through a library of podcasts or picking up where you left off on a podcast. Skills are being developed to fix this and make it easier to access a podcast with the ease we can on our mobile device.
Smart speakers can be used to control lighting, thermostat, home security systems, sprinklers inside and out. So much can now be done with a smart speaker.
Of the people that have children, 73% of the children use the smart speaker. Kids are playing music, asking questions, being told a joke, play games and also getting help with their homework.
50 – 60% of us are encouraging friends to get a smart speaker. It seems people love their smart speakers.
Voice assistant technology is here to stay.
Welcome to the world where we talk to our appliances and cars more and more! It’s clear smart speakers are teaching us to use voice assistant technology.
Over time we will get more confident, it will become second nature to use this technology and we will expect more from our smartphones – be it Google Assistant or Siri.
If you have a smart speaker yourself, especially if you have a family, you won’t be surprised by the observation people are using them during meal times – it’s become a social thing. They are reducing screen time on our smartphones, computers, tablets, TV and spending less time reading printed publications.
In the last three months, 75% of the people surveyed had bought at least one item.
We are seeing more skills in Alexa and features in the Google Home being developed to make our lives easier.
As Gary Vaynerchuk says, the next trillion dollar company will be the voice app we all use.