A Big Forecast Raise For Smart Speaker Use


LOS ANGELES — Radio broadcasting companies have made it clear that the advent of the smart speaker is potentially one of the most important technology debuts ever seen for the industry.

Are they exaggerating? Are smart speakers really that important for AM and FM stations?

Absolutely, if newly updated data from eMarketer is to be believed.

Smart speaker adoptation is happening as quickly as smartphone adoption — and that’s a real feat, eMarketer says. According to its latest forecast, the number of U.S. smart speaker users will rise at a CAGR of an incredible 47.9% between 2016 and 2020, from 16 million to 76.5 million.

The huge jump from eMarketer’s previous estimates are based on what it says is new data showing stronger-than-expected adoption of the device.

“Uptake has been so strong that the number of adult smart speaker use will surpass that of wearable users for the first time this year,” it says.

Affluent and older-millennial males are the “average” smart speaker user. But, that’s quickly changing. Younger GenX women and children are increasingly using the smart speaker.

Meanwhile, the Amazon Echo and its Alexa-powered assistant is the most popular smart speaker in the U.S. But, it is losing market share as more alternatives come to market.

Overall, eMarketer expects 91 million people, or 27.6% of the U.S. population, to use a voice assistant via any device at least once per month in 2018.