Global Smart Speaker Trends
Did you pick up an Amazon Echo or Google Home speaker last Black Friday or for Christmas? Many will have done, adding to the burgeoning proportion of...
Global Smart Speaker Trends
Understanding device owners around the world
Did you pick up an Amazon Echo or Google Home speaker last Black Friday or for Christmas? Many will have done, adding to the burgeoning proportion of consumers globally who own voice activated smart devices.
This format of voice-led search and media streaming presents both a challenge and opportunity to marketers, but it is one all will need to master as the march towards being mainstream for such tech is very much underway.
However, levels of adoption for smart speakers - and indeed for other smart home appliances - fluctuates widely by country and it is thus key to understand to what extent consumers do or do not currently rely on this tech in particular markets.
Leveraging latest data from Kantar’s TGI Global Quick View Consumer Data, that compares the consumer behaviour of internet-using consumers in 22 markets worldwide, we can examine adoption of smart speakers and other smart tech.
Furthermore, we can explore where the differences lie and what makes owners different from other connected adults. We shall also take a deep-dive into smart speaker adoption in Great Britain.
Smart tech adoption around the world
Discover global fluctuations and what unites smart tech owners
US leads on voice activated smart devices
When it comes to owning a voice-activated smart home appliance, connected consumers in the US are in front, with Great Britain second, followed by Germany and Australia.
At the other end of the scale, ownership of these devices is considerably less prevalent in a number of markets, notably Scandinavia, where penetration in each of Sweden, Norway and Denmark is comparatively very low, under 5% of connected consumers in each case.
The discrepancies in adoption levels in these markets compared to the likes of the US, which itself still has plenty of growth potential, show just how much scope there is for these appliances in markets more broadly.
When it comes to other smart home devices such as internet-connected or smartphone controlled security or thermostat, the top markets by penetration are very different and the Scandinavian markets jump towards the top. Turkey tops the list, followed by Sweden and Norway.
Clearly, different types of smart device can see greatly fluctuating levels of popularity in different markets.
Smart device ownership especially popular amongst those who are young, well educated and likely to be into tech generally
The younger age groups are most likely to have these smart devices, with 25-34 year olds approaching 50% more likely than the average connected adult to own a voice activated smart home appliance.
Similarly, those with a high level of education are 31% more likely to own such devices. They are also more likely to own a range of other tech devices. For example they are over twice as likely to own a gaming console, over three times more likely to own a fitness band (e.g. FitBit) and 78% more likely to have a smart or connected TV.
They are also more likely be keen on owning new technology as a whole. They are 38% more likely than the average connected adult to agree ‘I love to buy new gadgets and appliances’ and 45% more likely to agree ‘It is important my household is equipped with the latest technology’.
Smart speaker owners far more likely to have a paid music subscription service
Smart speaker devices often go hand in hand with a paid music subscription. Little surprise then that those with a voice activated smart home appliance are over twice as likely as the average connected consumer to have a paid-for Spotify music subscription and four times more likely to have an Amazon Prime Music account.
Although not active in every market measured, Spotify is overall the most popular music subscription service for these smart device owners, followed by Amazon Prime Music and then Apple Music.
Heavy audio streaming is highest in Brazil, where those with a voice activated smart device are almost 60% more likely to stream six hours or more of audio per week. This is followed by Mexico and Turkey.
Video games and video streaming especially popular media for smart speaker owners
Owners of voice activated smart devices are more likely to be heavy consumers of a range of media compared to the average connected adult. In particular, they are 63% more likely to be heavy consumers of video games and over twice as likely to be heavy users of paid video streaming services.
When it comes to social networking they are 70% more likely to use Twitter, 40% more likely to use Instagram, but only 15% more likely to use Facebook.
Spotlight on Great Britain
Smart Speaker ownership in Britain
Amongst adults in Great Britain, the most popular smart devices in the household are the humble smoke/carbon monoxide detectors, which 20% of adults claim to have at home.
But hot on its heels are smart speakers, owned by 18% (9.5 million adults) – up from 11% (5.6 million) a year ago. Then in third place is smart heating/thermostat, which 16% of adults have. Other smart devices, such as lighting, Wifi plugs and security systems are considerably more niche, with penetration at 8% of less.
Alexa rules the smart speaker roost
Amongst adults with smart speakers, the Amazon Echo is easily the biggest player, with 75% of all smart speaker owners professing to have this brand vs 15% who have Google Home and 8% with an Apple HomePod (Siri).
Avid music downloaders
Perhaps little surprise given the likelihood of using a smart speaker to listen to music, but smart speaker owners are particularly likely to download music.
They are over two and a quarter times more likely than the average adult to have paid to download over 20 tracks in the past year. They are also 78% more likely to have downloaded music from the iTunes store and almost two and a half times more likely to have downloaded from another music store.
Parents of young children are key drivers of the market
Adults in their 30s are especially likely to have a smart speaker. They are 46% more likely to have one or more, whilst those in their 20s only 8% more likely to do so (respective overall penetration is 26% and 19% respectively).
Digging deeper into these demographics, it is those with children who are especially likely to have a smart speaker, no doubt to help better organise their busy lives. Playschool Parents (live with son/daughter and youngest child aged 0-4), Primary School Parents (live with son/daughter and youngest child aged 5-9) and Secondary School Parents (live with son/daughter and youngest child aged 10-15) are all considerably more likely than the average adult to have a smart speaker.
At the other end of the scale, Senior Sole Decision Makers (aged 55+, not married or living as a couple and live alone) are 63% less likely than the average adult to own one.
A skew towards London and those on a higher income
Geographically there is little difference across Britain in smart speaker penetration, a rare anomaly being London where consumers are 24% more likely to own one. There is also a skew towards the wealthier and those in the higher socio-economic groups. Adults in the top - A or B - social grades, are 28% more likely to have a smart speaker, whilst those with a family income of £75,000+ are over twice as likely to have one.
Love to be early adopters of tech and more likely to be influenced by celebrities
Smart speaker owners are more than twice as likely as the average adult to say they are willing to pay to access content on magazine websites and also over twice as likely to claim to prefer to buy products from companies who sponsor TV programmes.
This is also a group particularly open to celebrity influence. They are 95% more likely to agree that celebrities influence their purchase decisions. Owning this tech they are also more likely to be early adopters of consumer electronics generally, as evidenced by them being 87% more likely to say they buy new products before most of their friends and 72% more likely to agree that it is important their household is equipped with the latest technology.
Cinema and mobile internet mat prove especially efficient media to engage smart speaker owners
Smart speaker owners are particularly likely to be amongst the heaviest fifth of consumers of cinema and mobile internet compared to the average adult.
Digging deeper into the potential targeting efficiencies offered by cinema, TGI Consumer Data shows that they are 57% more likely to watch disaster films at the cinema than the average adult and 39% more likely to watch martial arts films – however the overall most watch film genre by this group is comedy, which 38% watch at the cinema.
Smart speakers and smart tech more generally are not only here to stay, they seem set to only become a more and more mainstream part of consumer life.
But like with any new tech, adoption around the world has taken off in some markets before others.
Marketers seeking to exploit this new form of communication need to be mindful both of this and what sorts of consumers in different markets have adopted these devices, so that they can most effectively engage them.
We have seen how in Great Britain specifically already almost 10 million adults claim to have a smart speaker - almost double the figure the previous year - and are particularly likely to be financially relatively high-worth individuals with a predilection of owning the latest tech generally.
We have also seen what mix of messaging and media may be especially effective at reaching and influencing this valuable and growing target.