Smart Speaker Reigns As King Of The Hill

A wide range of smart-home devices are available, but the smart speaker rules at the moment.

Internet-connected devices, many of which will be highlighted in various forms at CES next week, come in all shapes and functions. There are connected leak detectors, smart thermostats, smart lights, connected appliances, remote vacuums and security systems.

However, none of those can compare with the smart speaker, most notably those that leverage Amazon Alexa and Google Assistant.

Smart speaker penetration in the U.S. is pegged at 28%, based on a survey of 1,000 U.S. adults in a million-member consumer influencer panel conducted by Ripple Street. This was also just before the holidays, so the number is even higher now.

Consistent with other studies, Ripple Street found the top use of smart speakers to be listening to things, such as music, podcasts and audiobooks. In addition to listening, consumers do plenty of other things with their smart speakers:

  • 94% -- Listening to music, podcasts, and audiobooks
  • 73% -- Weather forecast
  • 58% -- Alarms and reminders
  • 56% -- Asking fun questions
  • 49% -- Online search
  • 41% -- Tell jokes
  • 38% -- Check the news
  • 34% -- Add items to a shopping list
  • 32% -- Smart home commands
  • 30% -- Read cooking instructions while in the kitchen
  • 29% -- Make phone calls
  • 28% -- Add items to a to-do list
  • 26% -- Play games
  • 23% -- Maintain a calendar
  • 21% -- Send and receive messages
  • 20% -- Make purchases

Notably at the bottom of the list is making purchases, which is somewhat ironic, since the market-leading Echo line of smart speakers comes from the online selling behemoth Amazon.

Following smart speakers in market penetration are thermostats (22%), remote video/security (19%), lighting (14%) and outlets (14%). All other smart-home devices are below 10% household penetration, according to the survey.

There are plenty of smart-home devices, and even more slated to be introduced at CES. For now, the smart speaker is the king of the hill.

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