Smart Speaker Ownership Keeps Growing, Even In Homes With Traditional Radios

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Friday, Mar 20, 2020 9:20 AM EST | Inside Radio

Smart Speaker Ownership Keeps Growing, Even In Homes With Traditional Radios

The number of Americans that are aware of smart speakers may not be growing all that much anymore – an estimated 220 million or 78% of people aged 12 and older are now familiar with the devices. But ownership is still expanding. That’s according to the just-released Infinite Dial study, an annual report from Edison Research and Triton Digital. The data shows 27% of Americans or 76 million people own a smart speaker. That’s a 17% increase compared to a year ago.

“In addition to the growing number of smart speakers, we continue to see the number of units that they own increase,” said Triton President of Market Development John Rosso during a webinar Thursday detailing the findings. He said it’s not surprising to see the per household numbers grow since someone may become accustomed to the ease of listening to a podcast in the kitchen and want to replicate that in another room of their house.

The latest numbers show a third of people surveyed owned three or more smart speakers, which was a 33% year-to-year increase. In fact the numbers suggest that most people added more than one smart speaker during the past year. The result is that among smart speaker owners the average number they have is 2.2 per household, a 10% year-to-year increase.

roadcasters have said they see the smart speaker as the modern-day table-top radio, in part because listening to the web streams of local stations is one of the top things people use the device for. That’s a good thing since the number of in-home radios owned by those surveyed continues to drop. The study shows the average house now has 1.5 traditional radio receivers, or half as many as when the same question was asked in 2007.

“Even though smart speaker owners tell us that one of the things they use their speakers for most is listening to music and the streams of AM/FM radio stations, owners of smart speakers tend to look like the rest of the population when it comes to radio ownership,” said Rosso.

The conventional thinking might be that Americans buy smart speakers to replace radio receivers in their house. That may be true for 8% of people surveyed, but overall Infinite Dial data shows that’s not the case. The biggest change was the number of people who said they had both types of device jumped 46% between to 2018 and 2020 with nearly one-in-five people saying you could find either sort of device under their roof. In fact, the typical smart speaker household has 1.7 traditional radio units compared to 1.5 for Americans overall. “Smart speaker ownership is growing at about the same rate in both the radio-owning and non-radio owning groups,” said Rosso.

The data shows Amazon Alexa-based devices continue to hold the largest share with an estimated 21% of the smart speaker market. Google Home was second with 11% followed by Apple HomePod at 1% of those surveyed.

“Amazon’s lead over Google is the result of getting their first,” said Rosso. He noted Amazon released its first smart speaker device in early 2015, two years before Google jumped in the sector. Rosso said in Canada, where the two devices hit store shelves within two months of one another, it’s Google that has the larger share.

Now in its 23rd year, the Infinite Dial study results are based on a national telephone survey of 1,502 people aged 12 and older in January and February. The survey was conducted to both cell phone and landlines and was offered in both English and Spanish.

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