Study Shows Consumers don’t Use Smart Speaker Voice Control for Much

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Loup Ventures just released a survey on smart speaker owners and it has two interesting points: HomePod is already gaining marketshare, and people don’t use their smart speakers for very smart stuff.

The survey included 520 respondents, 31% of whom say they own a smart speaker. 89% of those people say they’re satisfied with their device, and currently Amazon Echo holds the largest marketshare at 55%.

HomePod Smart Speaker Marketshare

Apple’s HomePod has been available for only a couple weeks, but has already managed to grab 3% of the smart speaker market. It’s in fourth place right now behind Amazon Echo’s 55%, Google Home at 23%, and Microsoft Cortana devices at %15.

Considering Amazon Echo’s earlier start in the smart speaker market, plus smart device maker’s wide support for the Alexa platform, it’s no surprise the device has such a huge lead.

That said, the Loup Ventures numbers shouldn’t be taken as the definitive state of smart speakers. 520 people isn’t a large group to extrapolate from, but it does give us an idea as to which smart speakers consumers prefer, and that there’s market interest in HomePod.

Consumers and Smart Speaker Habits

Looking at how consumers use voice control with their smart speakers was revealing. Most use voice control for playing music, checking the weather, and occasional simple questions—tasks Apple’s HomePod handles just fine even as Amazon Alexa and Google Assistant seem capable of more sophisticated voice-controlled tasks.

Gene Munster from Loup Ventures says in the survey results,

It comes as no surprise, consequently, that 89% of respondents were satisfied or very satisfied with their smart speakers. This is due in large part to the relatively simple tasks that the majority of users demand of their devices. For example, Cortana scores a 57% on our comprehensive smart speaker test. On a standard report card, this is a failing grade, but Cortana is well suited to play your music from Spotify, tell you the weather, and answer any simple question you have, so it’s easy to see why the typical user would be plenty satisfied. Put simply, people aren’t using their smart speakers for anything all that smart.

He goes on to say that’s likely to change over time and consumers will expect their smart speakers to handle more robust queries more regularly. Amazon and Google have a head start in this space, and it’s an opportunity for Apple to catch up.

Now that HomePod is shipping Apple can collect data about exactly how we use the device. That can be leveraged to decide where to focus first for new voice control features and—hopefully—have Siri up to the task when consumers are ready to do more than play songs and check the weather.

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