People have only the faintest idea of how huge the audio revolution going on these days is. We’ve taken the liberty of compiling some fascinating stats and created an infographic to paint a picture of what is going on with audio today and how massive it really is.
Audio and voice technology have become huge, so much so that the entire way users consume content and interact with technology these days has radically changed. Voice is increasingly taking ahold of attention as the most natural form of an interface there is. The sheer volume of convenience and user-friendliness it facilitates is almost incomparable to anything we witnessed before.
Smart speakers alone, as the undisputed leaders of this movement and one of the most frequent online buzzwords, have completely changed how we search for information, listen to music or podcasts. shop, and so much more.
There are more and more smart speakers out there
The first thing that catches attention is the global smart speaker installed base. Projections show it will top 200 million by the end of 2019, growing 82.4% from 114 million units in 2018 to 207.9 million in 2019. Region-wise, North America and the US, in particular, will remain at the forefront of smart speaker adoption accounting for 42.2% of the global smart speaker installed base, followed by China which is expected to reach 59.9 million units by the end of 2019.
In 2018, smart speaker shipments reached 78.0 million units worldwide: a 125% increase from 34.7 million in 2017. Google nearly edged Amazon as the top-shipping vendor with 23.4 million shipped Home speakers, just short of 24.2 million shipped Echo devices. Chinese companies Alibaba, Xiaomi, and Baidu – all shipping exclusively in China – rounded out the top five performers.
In terms of ownership, 43% of all male consumers are smart speaker owners, as opposed to 29% of all female consumers. Research shows millennial males are more likely to own a smart speaker than any other age and gender cohorts, while the 35-54 age group has the largest percentage of smart speaker owners with almost every other user being an owner (47%).
Living room placement and basic activities are most common
So where are all these users keep their voice assistants? Almost two-thirds of consumers (64%) report keeping a smart speaker in their living room, making it the central hub of voice-first revolution in a home. Next up on the placement list are the bedroom (46%) and kitchen (32%) with significant smart speaker presence, followed by the office (12%), bathroom (6%), and outside use (2%).
Regarding voice assistant usage, the primary activities users opt for are listening to music, getting weather and news updates, setting alarms and reminders, as well as performing an online search and basic research. The majority of these tasks is experiencing an increase in usage while making calls, playing games, smart home management, and shopping are among the top emerging use cases.
Overtaking tablets and wearables
Another rather interesting tidbit that shows the size and expansion of the smart speaker market is the fact that smart speakers are poised to overtake tablets by 2021. In fact, smart speakers should surpass wearable bands (a growing segment) as early as this year, and by the end of 2023, about 500 million smart speakers are expected to be in use – 200 million more than either tablets or wearables.
The rising use of voice assistants such as Alexa, Google Assistant, and Siri is largely due to constant efforts by global vendors to enhance their interaction through first and third party improvements. As they gain more capabilities in the way they operate, these voice assistants provide more value to users, making the entire ecosystem limitless in possibilities.
Voice is here to stay
What does all of this say about the current state of voice-first revolution? There are plenty of takeaways, one of them being that the overall popularity of smart speakers and voice assistants appears to be universal, regardless of region and culture. The adoption rate will continue to grow as voice assistants and subsequently, the devices they power become smarter and more capable.
One thing worth mentioning is that we are still in the early stages of voice development. With such rapid advancement in voice technology, it’s easy to forget that the first Amazon Echo speaker – arguably the catalyst of this revolution – was released less than five years ago. Voice is slowly reshaping entire industries like automotive, healthcare, hospitality, and even finance – many of whom are traditionally hesitant and slow to adopt new and emerging tech. You could say that’s the true power of voice – the ability to reimagine everything.
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