- Amazon and Google are the leaders in the budding market for smart speakers, and there is still plenty of room for growth and for competitors to emerge, according to a study released today by Adobe Analytics Cloud and made available to Mobile Marketer. Online sales of Google Home and Amazon Echo devices have grown 39% in past 12 months, including a major jump during the holidays, a period when Google Home sold more units than the Echo Dot.
- Twenty-two percent of consumers report using voice instead of a keyboard at least daily. Nearly half of respondents said they never use voice commands, and 37% said voice assistants work "good" or "very well."
- Among social media mentions, Siri maintains the lead while Google Assistant, Samsung's Bixby and Harman Kardon's Invoke are lagging, according to Adobe. Consumer interest in Bixby has subsided as Samsung has delayed its release for an English-language audience, and Harman Kardon didn't generate any social buzz with its device that uses Microsoft's Cortana digital assistant.
As consumers are gradually getting more comfortable with voice commands on electronic devices, the dynamic market for smart speakers has plenty of room for growth. While Amazon was an early leader, Google Home gained an advantage during the most recent holiday season when the devices saw a major leap in sales, then Amazon's devices started off the year strong during the first quarter of 2017 with lower price points, according to Adobe Analytics Cloud. The study determined that Google Home makes more money, while the lower-priced Amazon's Echo Dot is the leader in number of units sold. Amazon's recent introduction of the Echo Show, which includes a video screen, could help the company maintain its lead as both consumers and developers have been asking for richer experiences for home assistants beyond just voice interactions.
This study comes as electronics retailer Best Buy announces new smart home displays for 700 of its stores starting in July. The new displays will show off how the devices integrate with smart home products such as Philips Hue smart light bulbs and Nest thermostats, according to the Minneapolis Star Tribune, which could likely introduce the devices and concept of smart homes to consumers visiting the store while boosting sales.
The growth in smart home assistants points to the need for marketers to find engagement strategies on these devices that make sense for their brands and bring value to consumers. Numerous brands have already created voice-driven interfaces across various platforms and the number is likely to continue to escalate.
For many people, their first interaction with a voice assistant was with Apple's Siri, which was introduced in 2011. That number is gradually growing. The number of Americans who use a voice-activated assistant device like Amazon Echo or Google Home at least once a month will more than double this year to 35.6 million, eMarketer estimates. The market leader will be Amazon with 71% of users while Google will have 24%.
About 60.5 million Americans will use Siri, Cortana or another smartphone-based assistant at least once a month this year, eMarketer estimates. That usage covers 28% of all U.S. smartphone users, or about one-fifth of the nation's total population. EMarketer estimates that Amazon will maintain its market leader position even as Google Home grabs greater market share. The key for Amazon will be to provide an insurmountable mix of content and functionality that has a greater value proposition than its competitors.