Spring 2020 Smart Audio Report Finds Smart Speaker Usage Growing

May 5 2020, 00:10
With more than 60 million adults A18+ in the U.S. now owning a smart speaker, new research from The Smart Audio Report reveals how the outbreak of COVID-19 and quarantine measures are disrupting routines and shifting consumer behaviors. Other key findings from the Spring 2020 Report reveal that usage of voice commands in general has increased slightly since the pandemic, with 52% of voice-assistant users saying they use voice tech several times a day or nearly every day, compared to 46% before the outbreak.

The Smart Audio Report from NPR and Edison Research, which debuted in 2017, is a recurring study on trends in Smart Speaker ownership and voice assistant user behavior. The survey was conducted between December 31, 2019 and May 1, 2020, and combined with a national online survey of adults age 18 and older between March and April 2020. Tracking was carried from previous surveys in 2017, 2018 and 2019, with interviews with 815 smart speaker owners, 428 that do not own a smart speaker but use voice-operated assistants and 417 that declared not to use voice-operated assistants at all.

With 77% percent of adults in the U.S. report experiencing a change in their typical routine since April 1, the new data reveals valuable insights for manufacturers, advertisers, content creators and more as they navigate these tumultuous times. 

- More than two-thirds of those who use voice assistants say they 'make their lives easier.'

- 36% of U.S. adult smart speaker owners say they are using their device more to listen to music and entertainment since the outbreak, and 52% of 18-34 year-olds say the same.

- 35% of U.S. adult smart speaker owners are listening to more news and information since the COVID-19 outbreak, and 50% of those ages 18-34 say the same. 

- 46% of smart speaker owners say they use their smartphone voice assistant more since acquiring their smart speaker.

- 59% of smart speaker owners who also use a voice assistant on their smartphone say the tasks they use for each of the devices are mostly different.

- 52% of smart speaker non-owners who use some type of voice commands are likely or very likely to buy a smart speaker in the next six months — 34% of all smart speaker non-owners say they are likely or very likely to buy a device in the next six months.

"With tens of millions of Americans no longer commuting, smart speakers are becoming even more important as a conduit for news and information,” notes Edison Research SVP Tom Webster, “and this increased usage and facility with voice assistants will likely increase demand for this technology in vehicles once our commutes resume.”

“Our daily routines may have changed, but our need for easy access to reliable journalism remains critical – even more so than ever before,“ says NPR Vice President of New Platform Partnerships Joel Sucherman. “We see that in listening patterns and the continued growth in the number of devices Americans have in their homes.”

Download the Report here.
A full archive of research from the Report is also available.
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