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TECHnalysis Research Press Releases

Smart Speakers Like Amazon Echo and Google Home Driving Major Shift in Consumer Tech Habits

Smart Homes and Digital Assistants on Smartphones Feeling Impact of New Devices

Foster City, CA – May 31, 2017: Smart speakers, such as Amazon’s popular Echo device and Google Home are already starting to make a dramatic impact on how people use and interact with their existing tech gadgets, according to a new study by TECHnalysis Research. The voice-driven devices have quickly made their presence felt and their influence is spreading rapidly. In fact, approximately 14% of US households now have a smart speaker and 60% of those were acquired in the last six months, setting the stage for a hockey stick-style adoption curve.

“For those who have wondered what the ‘next big thing’ in tech might be,” commented TECHnalysis Research President Bob O’Donnell, “it’s clear that these voice-controlled computing devices are it. Their rapid adoption and strong usage across consumers of all ages is not only important for its own sake, but it’s starting to impact how people use and interact with their other devices, including smartphones.”

The study includes the results from a recently completed online survey of 995 US adults aged 18-74 who own a smart home product of some type. The survey found that approximately 1 in 4 US households now have at least some type of smart home product, whether that be the aforementioned smart speakers, Nest-style connected thermostats or video cameras, smart light bulbs, connected appliances, Sonos-style connected audio systems, or other devices. The average number of smart home-focused connected devices in a smart household is seven—not counting PCs, tablets, TVs, smartphones and wearables.

Another key finding from the study is that about 30% of US households with smart home equipment currently use a smart home service from providers like the major telco carriers or cable companies. The still confusing—and frustrating—nature of many smart home products and the interconnects they require have led almost half of all smart home households in the US to either use, temporarily try, or at least seriously consider getting a service that will ensure that all the various components in their smart home system will work together.

Looking specifically at the smart speaker category—which was found in 56% of all smart homes—the study highlighted the love/hate relationship that many consumers have with the current generation of devices. Products exemplified by Amazon Echo and Google Home were ironically—or perhaps appropriately—selected as both the most favorite and least favorite smart home devices by survey respondents. Another key point is that voice control of home devices is showing growth, highlighting the central role that smart speakers are starting to play in today’s smart homes.

Perhaps even more telling, however, is the amount of usage that these new devices receive, particularly in relation to smartphones and PCs, which have had voice-driven smart assistants much longer.

Figure 1 shows a comparison of smart assistant usage across the three product categories and it’s immediately clear that people prefer interacting with their smart speaker.

Fig. 1

“These survey results show that companies who are serious about advancing the concept of the digital assistant and other types of AI-driven services need to create a smart speaker if they want to establish a key position inside the homes of today’s most connected consumers,” said Bob O’Donnell, chief analyst at TECHnalysis Research. “Having assistants on other devices is important, but not as important as the having one in a smart speaker.”

Other topics included in the study addressed the research and purchase locations for smart home devices, ownership and usage of home gateways and centralized control applications, details on smart speaker usage and experiences, interest in new smart speaker features, usage of multiple smart assistants, assistant preferences, and much more.

A summary version of the Smart Home, Digital Assistant Study is available in PDF format and can be downloaded for free here. The complete 107-slide version of the report with detailed breakdowns for every question is available for purchase. For additional information, please e-mail the author at

Founded by technology market research veteran Bob O’Donnell, TECHnalysis Research, LLC provides strategic consulting and market research services to the technology industry and professional financial community. Building on a deep understanding of critical technology and business trends, in conjunction with hard-hitting, original research, the firm provides unique "out-of-the-box" perspectives that are still grounded in the practical realities of the technology, media and telecom markets.

You can download a copy of this press release in Adobe Acrobat format here.

Media Coverage
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