eMarketer’s new data shows smart speakers are gaining huge popularity. They’re getting so popular that for the first time this year the number of adult smart speaker users will surpass that of wearable tech users.
Not since the smartphone has any tech device been embraced as rapidly as the smart speaker, and eMarketer forecasts that the number of US smart speaker users will rise at a compound annual growth rate (CAGR) of 47.9% between 2016 and 2020, from 16.0 million to 76.5 million.
The average smart speaker user is an early adopter – educated, affluent, older millennial male. However, the gap is narrowing fast as smart speakers gain traction among other demographic groups, especially younger Gen X women with children.
Currently, Amazon’s Alexa enabled Echo is the most popular smart speaker in the United States. With the competition heating up, Echo, too is losing market share. Google Home comes in second, and is expected to gain share from Amazon because of its lower cost model the company launched in late 2017. Apple’s HomePod, however, hasn’t acquired a big market due to its high price tag.
In a separate report published in April, the smart speaker market was valued at $2.68 billion in 2018 and is expected to be worth $11.79 billion by 2023, growing at a CAGR of 34.44% between 2018 and 2023. The report attributed the growth of this market to rapid proliferation of multifunctional devices, growing trend of personalization, rising disposable income, and increasing number of smart homes. However, issues related to connectivity range, compatibility, and power restrain the growth of the smart speaker market, the report said.
According to the report, Alexa held largest share of smart speaker market in 2017.
The market for Alexa smart speakers is growing rapidly due to its low cost and compatibility with many smart devices and apps, such as smart switches, security cameras, garage doors, locks and sprinklers.
Experts predict that through 2020, smart speakers will push most of the growth in the US voice assistant market. But, they aren’t the only device with voice command capabilities. Although, people are still most likely to use voice assistants on smartphones, the technology is being integrated into other smart-home devices ranging from alarm systems to lights, and even mirrors.
Overall, eMarketer expects 27.6% of the US population (91.0 million people) to use a voice assistant via any device at least once per month in 2018.