Amazon’s Echo family has dominated the smart speaker market for years, and the latest consumer survey from Strategy Analytics offers details on the most popular models — as well as the performance of rival speakers from Google and Apple. The firm conducted its survey online from July to August 2018, polling over 1,000 U.S. smart speaker users on which devices they actually have in use today, as well as future preferences.
Although sub-$50 options have generated lots of interest over the past year, the market isn’t completely controlled by cheap speakers. For instance, Amazon’s standard Echo was the survey’s most-used speaker with 23 percent share, followed by the less expensive Dot at 21 percent. Similarly, Google’s Home had 8 percent share to the cheaper Home Mini’s 7 percent. Amazon’s Echo Plus had 5 percent share, with Spot, Show, and Dot Kids Edition all at 4 percent. On the premium side of the scale, Apple’s $349 HomePod held a 4 percent share, twice that of Google’s $399 Home Max.
Aggregating all the numbers, including Amazon models not listed, the Echo lineup has a 63 percent share of all smart speakers in use, with Google at 17 percent and Apple at 4 percent. Strategy Analytics also says that 88 percent of smart speaker homes have at least one Amazon smart speaker, and 31 percent have at least one Google smart speaker, indicating that the retail and search giants’ reach is broader than the aggregated unit percentages might suggest.
Multi-room use is becoming common. As of now, 58 percent of users have two or more smart speakers, with 62 percent using one in a family room, 61 percent in a bedroom, 39 percent in the kitchen, and 12 percent in the bathroom. At the right price point, having microphone-equipped audio systems near bathtubs, showers, and toilets evidently begins to make sense.
There’s also plenty of room for the smart speaker category to grow. Strategy Analytics suggests that only 17 percent of the U.S. population is using smart speakers now, but the crowd is happy — and growing. Across the category, consumer satisfaction levels are in the 90 percent range, as users are expressing satisfaction with the ability to use voice controls over touchscreens and keyboards. Nearly two-thirds of users plan to buy another smart speaker in the next two years.
Amazon, Google, and Apple aren’t necessarily going to be the only beneficiaries of that business, though. Strategy Analytics notes that customers are expressing interest in audio options from Bose, Samsung, and Sonos, as “the most preferred alternatives to the ‘big three’” currently offering smart speakers. Sonos has been selling Sonos One for a year, while Bose and Samsung debuted their own options in August, both at the higher end of the category’s price range. Whether they expand the market or merely fight for the same modest market share as Apple’s HomePod and Google’s Home Max remains to be seen.
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