Report: As Facebook portal goes on sale, smart speaker growth is slowing

Perhaps the novelty is fading. Smart speaker growth had been on a tear, but Consumer Intelligence Research Partners (CIRP) now reports that growth is leveling off.

Now 53 million devices. The firm’s latest survey and analysis argues there were 53 million smart speakers in US homes at the end of September. That’s up from 50 million in June. Echo devices still dominate with 70 percent market share. Google Home has 25 percent and Apple’s HomePod is in 5 percent of smart speaker households.

Pervious reports had indicated that Google Home was gaining ground on Amazon Echo.

Just yesterday Facebook’s smart display, Portal, went on sale. And Samsung’s Galaxy Home smart speaker is coming soon. For different reasons both of these devices are likely to struggle. Meanwhile, Google’s just released Home Hub smart display and Google Home Mini are being discounted as holiday shopping begins in earnest. Amazon is also offering meaningful discounts on many of its Echo devices.

Smart Speaker Accessory Ownership

Source: CIRP (October 2018)

Driving smart home accessory sales. Smart speakers have so far disappointed as marketing channels or platforms. However, they have succeeded in accelerating the sale of a wide range of smart home accessories and devices, from smart light bulbs and plugs to thermostats and security systems.

According to the CIRP survey extrapolation, 70 percent of Google Home owners and nearly 60 percent of Amazon Echo owners have at least one kind of smart home accessory. Almost half (49 percent) of Google Home owners and 36 percent of Amazon Echo have some connected home security accessory, such as smart locks, doorbells, video cameras, or an alarm system. Roughly the same percentage of Amazon Echo and Google Home owners have a smart lighting/outlet accessory and a similar, lower percentage of each has a smart thermostat.

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Why it matters to marketers. With the introduction of every new technology there’s a period of anticipation and hype, after which actual use cases emerge. That’s where we are with smart speakers.

There’s still a lot of opportunity to turn them into an effective advertising or marketing (and commerce) channel, but it will take a good deal more effort and creativity on the part of brands, device makers and developers for the opportunity to become reality.

About The Author

Greg Sterling is a Contributing Editor at Search Engine Land. He writes a personal blog, Screenwerk, about connecting the dots between digital media and real-world consumer behavior. He is also VP of Strategy and Insights for the Local Search Association. Follow him on Twitter or find him at Google+.

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