Commentary

Forecast Lowered For Purchases Via Smart Speaker

Just because smart speaker owners can make purchases using their devices doesn’t mean they will.

It turns out that not as many people as once thought are using their speakers to buy things, according to a new forecast.

The latest forecast by eMarketer estimates that 22 million people will have made a purchase using a smart speaker by the end of this year, lower than its previous estimate of 24 million made in 2019.

Though lower than initially projected, it’s still a large number, with 11% of all digital buyers in the U.S. projected to make a purchase via smart speaker this year.

“There’s a good deal of friction in the voice-based buying process because people can’t see what they’ll actually be purchasing unless they have a screen on their smart speaker,” stated eMarketer principal analyst Victoria Petrock. “So, most of the purchases made today are reorders and things that don’t need to be inspected.” 

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And the ways consumers typically use  smart speakers have also been revised. The top usage at least once a month is audio listening (81%) followed by inquiries (78%).

Smart speaker usage is not performing as eMarketer estimated last year. In its second quarter forecast, the number of smart speaker users was projected to reach 85 million, which is now revised down to 83 million.

It may be down a bit, but it’s still a quarter of the population.

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