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About 1 in 3 US adults (32%) reports owning a Smart Speaker as of August 2018, marking a 4% point increase from January of this year, according to a new survey from Adobe. The study suggests that up to half of adults could own a Smart Speaker by the time the holiday season is over as a result of purchase intentions among adults yet to own the device.

It’s certainly possible that Smart Speaker ownership will jump during the holiday period. Earlier data from comScore revealed that these devices’ household penetration rose from 11% of households in November to 17% in December 2017, as they were among the best-selling devices.

This latest survey finds 18-34-year-olds most likely to report ownership of a Smart Speaker, with 40% doing so. One-third (33%) of 35-54-year-olds also report ownership, as do more than one-fifth of respondents ages 55-64 (22%) and ages 65+ (23%). Male respondents were more apt to say they owned a device than their female counterparts (37% and 27%, respectively).

Smart Speaker Owners “Embrace” Voice Tech

Voice promises to change the way people interact with technology, and there are indications that people are using voice assistants to a greater degree than they used to, with this change led by Smart Speaker owners.

Fully 76% of Smart Speaker owners say their use of voice assistants has changed in the past year. That’s double the proportion of non-owners who say so, but it’s still noteworthy that almost 4 in 10 non-Smart Speaker owners have increased their use of voice assistants.

Smart Speakers may be the gateway to greater use of voice assistants – or it may instead be that people buy Smart Speakers because they’re more comfortable with voice tech… Either way, the results show that, compared to people who don’t own such a device, Smart Speaker owners are:

  • 3 times more likely to use voice assistants daily on their smartphones;
  • 4 times more likely to use voice assistants daily on their laptop;
  • 13 times more likely to use voice assistants daily on their wearables; and
  • 6 times more likely to use voice assistants daily in their cars.

Smart Speakers Used Sparingly for Orders, But Still Feature in the Shopping Experience

Separate results from the report reveal that relatively few Smart Speaker owners are actually making purchases using their devices. Around 1 in 4 claim to place one-time orders for delivery, while roughly 1 in 5 re-order items they frequently buy (21%) or place one-time orders for in-store pickup (17%).

Respondents may be over-stating things: a recent report from The Information citing Amazon’s own internal figures suggested that “only about 2% of the people with devices that use Amazon’s Alexa intelligence assistant – mostly Amazon’s own Echo line of speakers – have made a purchase with their voices so far in 2018.”

The apparent hesitance to make purchases doesn’t mean that these devices aren’t featured in the shopping experience, though. Almost half of respondents to Adobe’s survey said they use their voice assistants for product search and research, which will no doubt be improved by the release of the Amazon Echo Show that has a screen.

Meanwhile, 43% of respondents with a Smart Speaker create shopping lists, and close to one-third compare prices using their device.

About the Data: The results are based on a survey of 1,000 US adults (18+).

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