Tech is looking for its next mass market hit. Many still place their bets on wearables or VR headsets. There’s more evidence however to suggest that smart speakers may be right around the corner as the next big thing in consumer tech.
Recent reports suggest high rates of satisfaction with smart speakers such as the Amazon Echo and Google Home device. Analyzing current consumer behaviour, a report published by analytics company Invoca showed how 89 percent of respondents used the devices daily. More impressively, among all respondents, approximately 58 percent revealed that they used these as assistant devices, performing tasks that one might otherwise do by typing or swiping.
As the appetite for content consumption appears to be moving to a new arena, smart speakers may be where it’s at. Currently, admittedly there’s not too much competition in the marketplace. Amazon controls roughly 75 percent of the smart speaker market in the United States. Though rumours are abound of similar devices being in development at tech giants such as Facebook, none have produced a workable model as of yet. Despite that, there does seem to be some interest in assistant based products from Facebook. In this report, more than 58 percent of respondents said they would consider buying a voice assistant from Facebook if they did indeed sell one. If there was one company that could potentially take a big chunk of the market away from Amazon, it may be the social media platform.
It is an exciting time in the world of smart speaker assistant devices as the future looks ready to blossom. A few years down the line, this might even open up new advertising doors though currently there are no audio ads on Google Home or Alexa devices. Earlier in 2017 when promotional audio messages began to make their way onto the Echo, Amazon put an end to that quick. It remains to be seen what kind of ad space is available on smart speakers however consumers have expressed some willingness to have ads, especially if they were personalized to the user.
By the end of 2017, it is expected that as many as 60 million smart speakers could be installed across the United States alone. Truth be told, it remains to be seen what kind of impact Christmas sales may have on this number.
There is one last piece of data that we found particularly interesting from this study and that was in how smart speakers were being used. For example, the top three areas of smart speaker use appeared to be in travel, such as in booking hotels, checking flight status, or purchasing a travel-related book or document; banking, such as checking account balances or paying bills; and healthcare, such as asking about symptoms, seeking health and diet tips, and connecting with hospitals, healthcare professionals, or doctors.
There are a number of undeveloped opportunities with smart speakers that make it a unique product for the future of consumer tech. As sales continue to increase and more households adopt this as a key piece of smart home tech, smart speakers may be the right product to keep an ear to.