The Mainstream Appeal of Smart Speakers

If you think smart speakers are merely for early adopters, you’d be surprised to learn that 43 million people over the age of 18 in the United States now own one.  From marketing and publishing to technology and services, smart speakers have entered the mainstream across various industries, as revealed by The Smart Audio Report, a recurring study from NPR and Edison Research.

First released in 2017, The Smart Audio Report examines national trends in smart speaker adoption and usage and provides insight into the impact of voice technology on consumer attitudes and behaviors.

Key findings:
  • “Early mainstream” users (those who’ve owned a smart speaker device for less than one year) are relying on the technology for a broader array of daily activities, including ordering food, making calls, getting traffic reports, researching products, shopping and even facilitating family/social interaction.
  • “First adopters” (those who’ve owned a smart speaker device for more than one year) demonstrate more advanced smart speaker use, leveraging voice activation to control home security and other household devices.
  • Voice-activated tools are being purchased to combat excessive screen time.  Audio content is in demand and offers a welcomed change from television and computer screens. Smart speakers are in fact the number one device for consuming audio in homes that have had them for at least a year.  As Tom Webster, Senior VP of Edison Research, describes, “Smart speakers are truly the new radio.”
And take a look at these enlightening statistics from the report:
  • As already mentioned, 43M people over the age of 18 in the US own smart speakers
  • 22% of Americans, age 55 and older, own smart speakers
  • 46% of owners are men and 54% are women
  • 48% of first adopters and 54% of early mainstream users are using their smart speakers more often than during their first month of ownership
  • 44% of first adopters and 58% of early mainstream users intend to purchase another smart speaker
  • 37% of owners listen to two or more hours of news each week on their smart speakers
  • 81% of owners are open to skills and features created by brands on smart speakers

Here at Viibrant, we’ve understood the potential of voice technology in the senior space for some time now.  It’s the reason we created a market-leading integration with Amazon’s Alexa.  It’s the reason we’ve developed bi-directional, conversational Alexa skills (not just simply call and response).  It’s the reason we’re the solution of choice for senior living communities who want to make sure residents and staff, including those with impaired vision or other limitations, can leverage the power and ease of voice technology.

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