Here’s a promising metric for Amazon, in terms of its ability to maintain its current lead in the voice computing market: 42 percent of Amazon Echo owners have two or more devices, according to Edison Research. This figure is seemingly growing, too. Last year, there were about 1.18 Amazon Echo devices per Alexa household, but this new finding pushes that number to around 1.5 to 1.6 devices per household.
Voicebot had also published its own independent research last year, which is where it came up with the 1.18 Echos per household figure for comparison purposes.
These findings are important for several reasons.
For starters, it means that a large chunk of Amazon Echo owners are sold on the benefits of voice computing – after all, you wouldn’t buy a second device if you didn’t find any use for the first.
More importantly for Amazon, they’re not switching to another voice-powered speaker for their second device, like the Google Home. That would have indicated a general interest in voice computing, but an unhappiness with Echo’s implementation of the technology.
Finally, it also holds promise for Amazon’s newer Alexa-powered devices, like the fashion camera Echo Look and the first Echo device with a screen, the Echo Show. The latter is launching next week, and has already found a practical use case beyond displaying video, video calls, and other visual content on its 7-inch screen – it can display your smart home camera feeds as well, Amazon announced this week.
Amazon has been smart by investing in different types of devices.
The Look or Dot could live your bedroom, for example, while the Show makes sense in the family room or kitchen. With different feature sets and functionality – built-in cameras, a screen, etc. – Amazon can capitalize on the existing demand for more voice devices by offering ones that can perform new tricks.
It’s also tapping into consumer’s interest in using their voice-powered speakers outside the living room, which is where the Echo was originally intended to live. It did not stay put there, though. A study last fall found that 51 percent of Echo owners had the Echo in their kitchen. So what does Amazon launch next? A more kitchen-friendly device, of course – one that’s perfect for watching recipe videos, chatting with grandma, and keeping an eye on the kids playing outside – aka the Echo Show.
Edison’s new research report, also out this week, further delves into the habits of smart speaker device owners, largely confirming that the speakers aren’t just being bought, they’re being heavily used.
70 percent of smart speaker owners say they now listen to more audio at home, 65 percent said they wouldn’t want to go back to not having a speaker in the home, and 42 percent claim the device is “essential” to their everyday lives.
In addition, the report indicates these voice speakers aren’t just something adults are using, but are rather becoming devices for the whole families. 90 percent of parents with a smart speaker said their kids are enjoying them, and 8 in 10 said it has made it easier to entertain the kids. In fact, 57 percent said they even purchased a speaker for that very purpose. (I know I did…I was sick of sharing my Echo with the kids playing upstairs, or letting my daughter borrow my Dot. Fine, here’s your own! Go play!)
Amazon today has a solid lead in voice computing, despite new entrants on the market like Google Home and Apple’s HomePod. A recent survey estimates that Amazon has sold more than 10 million Alexa-powered Echo devices since late 2014. Morgan Stanley believes that figure could be more than 11 million. Amazon is also forecasted to control 70 percent of the voice-controlled speaker market this year. And if one Echo is the gateway drug to more Echo’s, its lead could grow over time.