The new Strategy Analytics study is based on a survey of 1044 users of smart speakers carried out in July and August 2019. Strategy Analytics estimates that there are currently around 35 million households with smart speakers in China. Existing users have extremely positive attitudes towards the devices, with nearly 90% of people saying they are much more useful than they had expected. 59% of Chinese users say that they can’t imagine living without a smart speaker.
On average more than half of users have more than one smart speaker. In contrast to the US and European markets, smart displays are already an important part of the market, accounting for a third of smart speakers in use. Chinese consumers as a whole (including non-users) are knowledgeable about which brands offer smart speakers. 71% believe Xiaomi offers smart speakers, compared to Huawei at 53%, Baidu at 47%, Alibaba at 37% and Apple at 34%.
“The Chinese market for smart speakers is growing extremely rapidly and this research shows that Chinese consumers love the convenience and entertainment value which smart speakers offer. If what Chinese people say turns out to be true, smart speakers will be in the vast majority of households within the next few years,” comments David Watkins, Director, Smart Speakers and Screens at Strategy Analytics.
UK Loves Smart Speakers
Nearly one in four UK households now owns a smart speaker, and while many users are concerned about security issues, the vast majority love their devices. After interviewing more than a thousand smart speaker users in the UK, Strategy Analytics found that nearly six in ten are concerned that voice-controlled devices will record sounds or conversations without their consent, and nearly half will not share payment information via their smart speaker. However, 88% of users are satisfied with their smart speaker and three quarters say they are much more useful than they had expected. More than 60% prefer using voice to a touchscreen or keyboard, and 50% even say they now can’t imagine life without one.
Strategy Analytics also found that 31% of non-owners plan to buy a smart speaker for the first time within the next 12 months. This is in spite of the fact that security is a concern for a minority of these potential buyers – 13% say that they haven’t bought one yet because they are concerned generally about security and 7% because they don’t want their data shared.
In addition, two thirds of existing owners say they will definitely buy another smart speaker, nearly a third within the next twelve months. More than half of owners already have more than one smart speaker in the home, confirming once again how these devices are becoming central to the emerging smart home lifestyle.
“There are regular ‘scare stories’ in the general press about Big Tech in general and suspicions about new technology, but the reality is that most users pay them little attention. They may have legitimate concerns, but the benefits of voice technologies are so great that most people will overlook them,” adds David Mercer, Principal Analyst and the report’s author.