Smart Speaker Adoption Continues Slowdown Even as Voice Assistant Command Frequency and Variety Jumps: Report
About 35% of Americans over 18, around 100 million people, own at least one smart speaker, according to the new NPR and Edison Research 2022 Smart Audio Report. That’s a 9% rise from the 82 million people accounted for last year, continuing the slowing adoption rate as seen in the chart above. That said, voice assistants are more widely used and for more activities than ever. The percentage of adult Americans using a voice assistant in some form is nearly double that of smart speaker ownership, reaching 62% when smartphones, TVs, cars, and computers with voice assistants are included.
Voice All Over
The ubiquity of voice technology is evident in the variety of ways people interact with voice assistants. Smartphones continue to be the top way people connect with voice assistants, but the percentage of people who have used a TV remote to talk to a voice assistant saw the largest jump, 10% more than in 2020. All categories of voice AI devices saw at least some growth, however.
“We are thrilled to see the interest and use of smart speakers continue to grow, five years after the original installment of this Report,” NPR vice president of sponsorship marketing Lamar Johnson said. “This data confirms that there are even more opportunities for both publishers and brands alike to connect with this growing and engaged audience.”
Despite the decelerating adoption of smart speakers and other voice-enabled devices, voice assistants are seeing a lot more use and variation in commands. This year’s report found that 57% of voice assistant users give at least one voice command every day, compared to 52% in 2020. The percentage who said they give a voice command at least once a month actually fell precipitously from 29% to 20%. There’s also a notable widening in the kinds of commands given to voice assistants. Smart speaker owners averaged 7.5 requests in 2017 while this year’s average hit 12.4 tasks. The same goes for smartphone voice assistant weekly tasks, which grew to 10.7 from 8.8 in 2020 when the report began tracking them.
“At this point the tech has become familiar for many users, so it is a great time to shake things up and get people’s attention with novel audio experiences and tasks,” Edison research vice president Megan Lazovick said. “In the grand scheme, this space is still very young, and there is much opportunity for change and growth, especially in the ways brands can communicate their messages using smart audio.”