Smart Speaker Adoption in Italy Hits Double Digits in Online Panel with Amazon Echo Edging Out Google Home
A new study by artificial intelligence company CELI and research firm Kkienn has found that smart speaker adoption among technology users in an online consumer panel stands at 13%. Among panelists, the research also found that Amazon Echo was leading in smart speaker market share over Google Home 53% to 43%. Other manufacturers commanded just 4% of the market. It is notable that Echo (Alexa) has a lead in market share in Italy as it arrived in the country six months after Google Home. In other markets, the first smart speaker to market has typically commanded a strong market share lead.
It is important to note that the 13% penetration does not necessarily reflect an adoption rate across the entire population of Italy. The user panel was conducted online and therefore reflects technology users. A blog post by CELI points out:
This is already significant penetration [for smart speakers], at the same level as wearable gadgets.
Pew Research data suggests that about 71% of Italian adults own a smartphone while the panel reported 95% ownership. PC ownership rate among panelists is 88% compared to OECD data for the entire Italian population of 72.5% Using these as adjustment factors, an overall smart speaker ownership rate could fall in the range of 9.7% – 10.7% depending on other sampling variables. This result suggests very rapid adoption considering that Amazon Echo only arrived in Italy in October 2018 and Google Home in April 2018. By contrast, wearables have been available in Italy for several years.
Use Cases Mirror U.S. and Other Markets
The study also found similar use case adoption to other smart speaker markets. The top use case was streaming music at 64% followed by checking the weather at 54%. Asking the time and setting an alarm totaled 43% and 42% respectively while listening to the radio was 37%. These figures are slightly lower across all use cases compared to U.S. users but Voicebot data shows similar use cases in the top five. A notable exception is that “ask for information” was only reported by 29% of Italian users while this is typically a top two most frequent use cases in the U.S.
Shopping showed up at 12% which made it an infrequent use case among those considered. With that said, this is just under half the voice shopping trial rate as in the U.S. where speakers have been around for at least three years longer.
Another interesting finding was a high usage frequency with 70% of device owners saying they interacted with their smart speaker daily and 90% at least weekly. These same users are also employing voice assistants on the smartphone at a high rate with 79% saying they do so and 24% employing the practice “often.” These high rates of usage likely also contributed to 64% of smart speaker owners saying the devices have “changed family life” at least a “little bit” with 25% saying that it has either “changed completely” or “a lot.”
You can read more about the findings and request the report here.