Google Gave Away 19,596 Google Home Minis at the Warriors – Trail Blazers NBA Playoff Game This Evening. Here’s Why.
The Oracle Arena where the Golden State Warriors play officially seats 19,596 fans. Google Nest gave away over 19,000 Google Home Minis to all attendees. That’s nearly $1 million in smart speakers (soon to be called Nest Mini’s) at full retail cost or nearly $600,000 at the currently discounted $29 price.
I was there, and yes they did.
— Lucas Ives (@lri) May 15, 2019
— Monica Riebli (@Swissmissy_16) May 15, 2019
The giveaway was the largest and most expensive sporting event giveaway of a Google product in history, and it was the Warriors’ first-ever tech giveaway. pic.twitter.com/HmRDyqzexW
— Front Office Sports (@frntofficesport) May 15, 2019
In addition, an announcement by the Warriors said that “fans who plug in and activate their Google Home Mini following the game will have a chance to be entered to win tickets to a future Warriors game.”
Google Has Given Away Large Number of Smart Speakers Before
This was the most expensive Google product giveaway at a sporting event according to Front Office Sport but it is not unprecedented. Google also quietly gave away Google Home Hubs to thousands of attendees that waited in long lines at CES to go through the company’s Google Assistant themed ride. Given the $149 retail price (at that time) for Google Home Hub, that promotion likely tallied between $500,000 and $1 million. In addition, Google gave away thousands of Google Home Minis to attendees at Google I/O 2018 and a similar number of Google Home smart speakers at the same event in 2017. The $129 retail price for Google Home likely put that again somewhere between a $500,000 and $1 million promotion.
Why Would Google Give Away So Many Devices?
Many people have suggested that the value of having a consumer choose your voice assistant over any other is so valuable that device makers should just give them away. Well, Google is clearly taking that to heart. The Google Home Mini is often on sale and included in many promotions. Tens of thousands have been given away. Google is giving as many people as possible get a chance to try out Google Assistant through its smart speaker products. That awareness is the first step at building a loyal user base. It also is an opportunity to close the market share gap with Amazon which introduced the Echo smart speaker a full two years before Google Home came to market.
Google’s installed base of smart speaker users rose from 18.4% in January 2018 to 23.9% a year later. Voicebot’s Smart Speaker Consumer Adoption Report 2019 also found that the Google Home product line added 600,000 more U.S. users than Amazon Echo in 2018. However, that still placed the company’s user base at 16 million U.S. adults compared to over 40 million for Amazon Echo. It’s a big deficit to makeup and the typical smart speaker owner today has two devices. So, placing a single device in a household may lead to a new device purchase in the near future and that may even be one of Google’s higher-end smart displays like the new Nest Hub Max introduced at Google I/O this year.
Finally, the consumer adoption report data also found that after acquiring a smart speaker, 36% of device owners report using voice assistants more on their smartphone. This is another critical factor driving Google’s promotion activities today. Google Assistant on the smartphone competes against Apple Siri, Samsung Bixby, and to a lesser extent Alexa. The company would like users to form habits around going to Google Assistant first when using voice on their smartphones.
Besides, Google is rebranding all of its smart speakers and bringing them under the Nest name. That means they have a lot of Google Home Minis in inventory to get rid of before they can stock the shelves with packages that read Google Nest Mini.