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Smart speaker adoption grows fastest in Australia: report

Smart speaker adoption grows fastest in Australia: report
Smart speaker popularity grew quickly in Australia, outpacing the rest of the world. The user base relative to total population now exceeds that in the U.S., according to voice assistant-focused media outlet Voicebot.
At the end of December 2018, there were about 5.7 million Australians with smart speakers out of an adult population of about 19.3 million. That means 29.3% of all Australian adults have access to a smart speaker.
Australia achieved the high proportion despite the fact smart speakers were only introduced to the country 16 months ago.
It is interesting that Google is now dominating in Australia the way Amazon is in the U.S. Thanks to its first-mover advantage, Google Home has established a 68% plus market share. Amazon Echo is a distant second with only 14.2% of the installed base while Apple HomePod claims 5.5%.
The dominance extends beyond smart speakers into smart displays while Google Home Hub has already captured 41.5% relative market share in the category compared to Amazon’s 13.2%.

With more than 29% of population adoption in Australia, smart speaker is now officially in the “Early Majority” second phase in the standard technology adoption cycle developed in the 1950’s by Iowa State University.
This particular phase is characterized by the influx of more casual users and the introduction of new product form factors.
Also, over 22% of smart speaker owners have added a smart display to their device collection compared to just 13% of American users. “Australians are showing their unmatched interest in voice-first use cases,” Voicebot said.

Voice shopping adoption faster than U.S.

Over 43% of Australian smart speaker owners have tried voice shopping and one-third said they are now using the feature every month. Also, Australians are more likely to ask smart speakers for product information. This is a surprisingly quick adoption for a country that has few voice shopping options today, Voicebot said.
Some observers suggested the voice shipping are likely small dollar transactions, donations and digital good acquisitions that may be completed on mobile phones. Regardless, it “shows a strong willingness among Australians to leverage voice technology for a wide variety of daily tasks,” Voicebot said.
Retailers and consumer brands are sure to look seriously into this emerging trend as “spending is shifting to a channel where many have no presence today,” Voicebot added.
Australia’s higher smart speaker ownership also translates into higher smart home device ownership. Up to 67% of smart speaker owners have smart home devices in Australia, compared with 56% in the U.S.
At 24.8% ownership, smart TV is the most popular smart home device, followed by smart lights at 24.8%, smart media controller, game console or cable box at 15.6%, and smart cameras at 12.8%.

Popular use cases

The most commonly used smart speaker feature is asking general questions. This feature turns a smart speaker into a voice interactive search engine. Music related questions are the most common, followed by movies and news related questions.
Companies everywhere are starting to think about how smart speakers can help address common customer service questions. Smart speaker adoption introduced a new consumer touchpoint in the home for asking all sorts of questions. “Those questions will inevitably include customer support for products and services,” Voicebot said.

What do consumers look for when shopping for a smart speaker? 60.6% said how well it understands them is their top concern, followed by how many features the device has (57.3%). Not far behind are sound quality (54.6%) and the speed of response (53%).

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