Smart speaker product life cycle to enter “early majority” in 2019: Voicebot

Smart speaker product life cycle to enter “early majority” in 2019: Voicebot
Smart speakers are growing more popular by the day in the U.S., and more than one in four American adults have access to a smart speaker, according to the Smart Speaker Consumer Adoption Report published by Voicebot.
 
Voicebot puts the current state of smart speaker adoption in perspective by using the standard technology adoption lifecycle first developed in the 1950’s at Iowa State University.
 
The model posits that “innovators” and “early adopters,” which comprise 16% and 34% of the population, respectively, will be the first two groups of people using a new product. Since 25% of American adults use smart speakers, the U.S. is now officially in the “early adopters” stage.
 
However, Voicebot predicts that sometime in 2019, the U.S. will enter the next “early majority” stage.
 
An interesting aspect of the early majority strage is that later adopters will have different preferences than early adopters. Two areas of difference are typically placing higher value in broader feature sets and integrations with other devices. As such, we may expect to see smart speaker makers that emphasize features, convenience of access and third-party integrations more in the coming year, Voicebot says.

American adults use smart speakers more frequently

 In January 2018, there were 47.3 million U.S. adults with a smart speaker and by the end of the year, the number rose to 66.4 million, according to Voicebot.
 
The number of smart speakers owned per user also rose from 1.8 in 2018 to 2 in 2019. The usage frequency also increased significantly. Over 60% of smart speaker owners in January 2018 identified themselves as daily users, according to Voicebot.
 
“When more than one-in-four consumers are using a device and its voice assistant, the media, brands, game makers, service providers, independent developers, and even governments are sure to take notice,” Voicebot says.
 
This recognition is playing out with more voice apps created. The number of Alexa skills rose by 2.2 times to nearly 60,000 in the U.S. alone in 2018. During the same period Google Actions grew at a slightly faster rate of 2.5 times to over 4,000.

More diversified market

Voicebot reported in the fall of 2018 that Phase 1 of smart speaker adoption was over and the start of Phase 2. The second phase is characterized by the influx of more casual users but also by the introduction of new product form factors and new manufacturers.
 
The most significant of these changes has been the emergence of smart displays. When Amazon was the only manufacturers of these voice-first devices with display screens, adoption was minimal. However, the introduction of Google Assistant enabled smart displays has helped drive sales, as it brought more attention to the product category.
 
There are also many more manufacturers today. Big names in audio such as Bose, Bang & Olufsen and Klipsch all entered the smart speaker segment in 2018 offering more consumer choice. However, the most significant new smart speaker launch in 2018 was Apple HomePod. That appears to have captured a significant number of new sales in the first and second quarters, but seemed to have tapered off in the third and fourth quarters.


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