Survey: One In Five Have Smart Speakers

John Lister's picture

Nearly 47 million Americans have a 'smart speaker' device in their home according to a new survey. If true, the devices' user base has gone from almost nothing to one-in-five people in just two years.

While models vary, smart speakers are small devices that perform two main functions: playing music (often from online streaming services) and answering spoken questions as a quicker alternative to typing something into a smartphone or computer. In some cases they are also used to control home devices such as lights and heating.

The study says 19.7 percent of people have access to a smart speaker in their home, with the male-female breakdown being 57.8 percent to 42.2 percent. Amazon currently dominates with 71.8 percent of speakers being from its Echo range, followed by Google's Home range on 18.4 percent and other manufacturers such as Apple making up 9.7 percent.

One's Enough For Most Users

Of homes that do have at least one smart speaker, 65.7 percent have one, 19.3 percent have two, eight percent have three and seven percent have four or more. That may have been driven by Google and Amazon both producing low cost models that have the same functions as their premium speakers but a lower audio quality. (Source:

The survey also found that households with an above-average income are more likely to have Amazon speakers and those with below-average income more likely to have Google models. One theory is that people on lower incomes who like gadgets are more likely to have Android smartphones rather than the iPhone. In turn they'll be more familiar with Google's technology and find it easier to tie a speaker to existing online accounts.

Cost Not The Issue Say Non-Users

The survey also asked people without a smart speaker why they didn't have one.

Perhaps surprisingly only 16 percent said privacy was the main issue, with 8.8 percent citing costs and 37.9 percent saying they simply weren't interested. Meanwhile 21.2 percent said they didn't need a smart speaker because their phone performed the same functions well enough. Only eleven percent said they planned to buy their first smart speaker at some point.

The figures come from research company Voicebot, which surveyed 1,057 adults. The survey was carried out online, so Voicebot adjusted the figures to take account of the 11.5 percent or so of adults without home Internet access, the logic being it's close to certain they don't have a smart speaker. (Source:

However, it's worth remembering people who are willing to spend time completing a survey online may be bigger tech enthusiasts than the general public as a whole.

What's Your Opinion?

Are you surprised smart speakers seem to be so widespread? If you have a smart speaker, how useful have you found it? If not, what if anything would persuade you to get one?

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russoule's picture

my Lord we have become a lazy bunch of people! now we need a "speaker" to listen to our requests because we don't have the energy to type the question? where will we be in 5 years? living like the humans in Wall-E? all stomach and head with no arms or legs? wow!

guitardogg's picture

Do you know who else is listening?

pctyson's picture

Remember not so long ago when there was a huge breach in "smart home devices" like thermostats, remote light controls, etc...? It is really not a matter of "if these devices get hacked" but when they get compromised. The worst part of it is how long they remain compromised before someone finds out. This is not paranoia. This is reality. I can assure you that, with a device base such as is mentioned in this article, there most certainly is a concerted effort on the part of the hacking community to gain illegitimate access to them. Once they have been compromised, there will be no privacy within your home.