4 Studies, 4 Key Findings About Smart Speakers

January 26, 2018

This article is included in these additional categories:

Customer Satisfaction | Customer-Centric | Digital | Mobile Phone | Non-mobile Connected Devices | Tablet

Let’s not call it the year of voice, even if it proves to be… Nonetheless there has been a rash of new research released surrounding voice assistants – and Smart Speakers in particular. Here are 4 insights derived from a review of 4 studies released over the past few weeks.

1. Smart Speakers Are Replacing Time Spent With Other Devices

In their latest Smart Audio Report [download page], NPR and Edison Research reveal by way of a survey of 806 US Smart Speaker owners (18+) that for 39%, time spent with these devices is replacing time they used to spend with traditional AM/FM radio.

Similarly, for more than one-third, time spent with Smart Speakers is replacing time spent with smartphones, and many likewise agree that some time they used to spend with TV (30%), tablets (27%) and computers (26%) is being spent now with the voice assistants.

Another survey – this time from Accenture [pdf] – reported similar trends. In that research, two-thirds of stand-alone digital voice assistant (Smart Speaker) owners and users said that since they got their device, they use their smartphone for fewer activities. Among these, a majority use entertainment services less, do less online purchasing, and do fewer general searches on their smartphones. (Accenture’s survey was conducted among 21,000 online consumers in 19 countries.)

That brings to mind previous research in which Smart Speaker owners said that the longer they own them, the more likely they are to use them for tasks previously accomplished through typing or swiping.

Overall, about half (51%) of respondents to the NPR and Edison Research survey noted that they’re using their Smart Speaker more often now than during the first month they owned it.

2. Smart Speaker Owners Seem Satisfied With Their Devices

Why might Smart Speaker owners be using their devices more? It seems that they’re satisfied with the experience thus far.

Accenture’s survey, for example, found satisfaction levels for stand-alone digital voice assistants (DVAs) to be at 94%, even higher than the satisfaction level for embedded DVAs (91%).

A separate survey from Capgemini [pdf], though, comes to a different conclusion. While almost half (46%) of users of voice-based speakers or devices reported satisfaction with their voice assistant, that was below the proportion (61%) of users satisfied with using voice assistants on their smartphones. Capgemini’s survey was conducted among 5,041 consumers in the US, UK, France, and Germany, among whom about half use voice assistants of some kind.

The apparent contradiction in results can probably be traced back to different respondent samples and methodologies. Nonetheless, it appears that at the least, Smart Speaker owners aren’t dissatisfied with their devices, judging from these results and other research demonstrating continued usage and enthusiasm surrounding them.

3. Smart Speaker Use Can Be A Communal Activity

A slight majority (53%) of Smart Speaker owners surveyed by NPR and Edison Research said that most of the time they use their device with others in the household. Moreover, two-thirds said they use their device to entertain friends and family, with music being the top task requested while spending time with friends and family.

Separately, just 16% of more than 1,000 US consumers surveyed by Adobe Digital Insights said they still feel uncomfortable using voice commands in front of others.

A healthy majority (72%) of those survey respondents believe that current voice recognition is good, and the top use cases for their voice assistants (listening to music, checking the weather forecast, asking fun questions, and researching questions) mostly can have communal appeal, too.

4. Different Times Call For Different Tasks

While listening to music and checking the weather consistently emerge as leading Smart Speaker activities, they can differ by time of day, per the Edison Research and NPR report.

That study finds that the top-indexing activity changes along with the day part:

  • 5AM-9AM: Checking traffic;
  • 9AM-3PM: Dropping in to an Alexa device in the home;
  • 5PM-7PM: Finding restaurants/businesses;
  • 7PM-9PM: Games; and
  • 9PM-Midnight: Controlling smart home devices.

Other Insights

Visit the links provided above for many more data points and insights, particularly to be found in the NPR/Edison Research and Capgemini studies.

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