Report: Smart speaker, voice assistant proliferation and use revealed

New data from the Smart Audio Report highlights top use cases for smart speakers, how many Aussies are onboard and what is going on with voice assistants

Music from online services and radio is the top use case for the one in four Australians who own a smart speaker, new report claims.

The fresh findings from the Smart Audio Report, compiled by Edison Research and Commercial Radio Australia (CRA), was aimed at understanding use cases for smart speakers across the growing numbers of consumers who own them. Overall, 26 per cent of Australians, or 5.6 million, reportedly now own a smart speaker, up from 17 per cent reported in 2020. Of these, 67 per cent report they use the speaker daily, and 88 per cent use it on a weekly basis.

In addition, the report found 24 per cent of smart speaker owners have three or more such devices in their homes, with the average number rising from 1.9 this year, up from 1.7 in 2020. More than six in 10 also plan to buy another smart speaker in the near future. Google smart speakers are the most popular, well ahead of Amazon.  

The predominant location is in the family or living room (55 per cent), followed by kitchen (31 per cent) and main bedroom (29 per cent). Use is commonly when people are doing chores, cooking, entertaining or getting ready for the day.

According to the report, the most popular weekly use case is listening to music from online services or radio (65 per cent of smart speaker owners), followed by asking for the weather (56 per cent), asking a general question (53), and asking about the news (41 per cent).

And it appears many consumers are more than happy with their devices. Seven in 10 said having a smart speaker makes their lives easier, and 41 per cent agreed they wouldn’t want to go back to a life pre-device. This is despite 63 per cent admitting they don’t know enough about their smart speaker to use all its features.

Related: Are smart speakers a game-changer for CRM?

The report also showed 42 per cent of Australians using a voice assistant such as Apple’s Siri, Google Assistant or Amazon Alexa. Across smart speaker owners, nearly half have been increasingly using the voice assistant on their smartphone post-purchase. One in three of those using voice assistants on their smartphone generally do so at least once per day.

Another key finding for marketers is that nearly one in two who have used voice assistant-based devices have interacted with a brand, product or service or to start or complete a purchase. Nearly three in 10 have ordered a new product, 27 per cent have reordered an item and 31 per cent have added an item to their cart.

“Smart speakers have fundamentally changed the way people interact with media. The technology is influencing usage on other devices such as the smartphone,” Edison Research vice-president, Megan Lazovick, said. “It is a good bet the Australian population will continue to grow more comfortable with this technology and opportunities will grow for those in audio and advertising if they embrace smart audio too.”

The Smart Audio Report was based on a survey of 5000 adults over the age of 18 between April – May 2021.

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