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One in Six Americans Now Owns a Voice-Activated Smart Speaker

PRESS RELEASE — January 11, 2018

Washington DC, USA — New surveys from NPR and Edison Research confirm continued and rapid increases in ownership of voice-activated smart speakers, and reinforce the increasing impact these devices are having on consumer behavior across a variety of technologies and platforms. One-in-six Americans now has a Smart Speaker (16%), up 128% since January 2017 according to a nationally representative telephone survey of 1,010 persons ages 18 and older fielded after Christmas 2017. This new data from The Smart Audio Report is available now.

The 2017 holiday season was a benchmark moment for Smart Speaker sales: 7% of Americans report acquiring at least one Smart Speaker between Black Friday and the end of December 2017, and 4% report acquiring their first Smart Speaker device during the holidays.

Amazon continues to dominate the Smart Speaker category. More than two-thirds of Smart Speaker owners report having an Echo, Dot or other Alexa-based product. One quarter of Smart Speaker owners report having a Google Assistant product such as Google Home or Google Home Mini.

Based on this survey, Smart Speaker adoption is occurring on pace with the rapid adoption of smartphones a decade ago. Apple’s iPhone was introduced in Summer 2007. Three years later, Spring 2010, 14% of Americans owned a smartphone (Edison, Infinite Dial). Amazon’s Echo, the first smart speaker on the market, was introduced in November 2014. Today, three years later, 16% of Americans own a smart speaker.

New survey data from The Smart Audio Report also reveals how voice-activation in the home is fueling adoption of smart technology broadly – including smart home applications – and affecting how often consumers engage with other platforms throughout the day. According to a survey of 800 Smart Speaker owners during the Fall of 2017:

These, and other key findings from The Smart Audio Report, will be presented at the Consumer Electronics Show (CES) in Las Vegas on January 10th. Following the research presentation, representatives from NPR, Edison, Amazon and Google will join a panel discussion on the growth and impact of Smart Speakers. More information on this CES session is available.

“We are growing the NPR brand by meeting listeners where they are — driving to work, sitting at a desk, relaxing at home, walking outside,” said Meg Goldthwaite, Chief Marketing Officer of NPR. “When people are familiar with NPR, they love NPR. So, we need to increase this familiarity and love by showing listeners how they can tune into NPR everywhere. It’s pivotal to understand how people listen today — how are media habits and diets changing? Commissioning studies like The Smart Audio Report allows us to stay ahead of the curve, meaningfully connect with listeners, and continue finding ways to create a more informed public.”

“Voice-activated speakers are perhaps the most dynamic sector not only in the audio space but in consumer electronics in general,” said Tom Webster, Sr. VP at Edison Research. “In addition to all of the search-based conveniences and the home automation capabilities, they are increasing access to all manner of digital audio. Our research is finding very different behaviors within ‘Smart Speaker-enabled homes’ once people acquire these technologies, and I look forward to discussing these changes at our CES panel.”

The Smart Audio Report from NPR and Edison Research, which debuted in June 2017, is a reoccurring study on trends in Smart Speaker ownership and user behavior. A full archive of research from the Report is available. NPR was the default Flash Briefing provider on Amazon Alexa devices at launch in 2014, and also on both Google Home and Microsoft Cortana devices. NPR will be available on Apple HomePod (forthcoming).

This is a press release which we link to from our daily newsletter about podcasting and on-demand. This is reprinted verbatim; we may rewrite headlines and descriptions. Press releases can be sent to


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