Currently there is no other technology trend which spreaded as fast as the smart speaker. With the first year over 50 million users were gained. In Germany every fourth has one and 90% know what a smart speaker is. In the first five years of the release, the smart speaker had a faster growth than the smartphone which is record breaking.
The smart speaker is the hardware in the form of a speaker and in some cases screen, combined with the software, a voice assistant which is embedded in the speaker. Virtual assistants, such as Siri, Google Assistant and Alexa allow the user to interact with the speaker through speech commands. Therefore the assistant uses speech recognition to understand the spoken commands and text to speech to play a reply. The main competitors are Amazon’s Echo/Alexa and Google’s Home/Google Assistant followed by smaller brands like the Apple HomePod, Alibaba or Xiaomi.
Smart speakers are commonly used for music streaming, smart-home-control, questions and organisation but they can do so much more. For Alexa there are over 100.000 third party voice applications - called Alexa Skills which can be downloaded for free. For Google Home there are Google Actions. Such brands as Spotify, Audible, Netflix and HBO are successfully interacting with their users daily through their voice applications.
Smart speakers are used with pleasure. Almost 50% of the owners engage daily with the device. This is the result of the recently published, representative Smart Speaker Study 2020 by the Berlin voice agency Beyto.
Today the common usage of smart speakers is still limited to simple functions such as music streaming, smart-home-control, questions and organisation, the technology will get more relevant for marketers. Almost 80% of the respondents think that voice technology will be more important in the future.
Moreover, smart speakers provide two potential opportunities for brands: Voice Commerce and Voice Search. Smart Speaker users can now buy products just through voice commands as shown in this example:
Customer: “Alexa, tell ABC store to order a power bank for my phone”
Alexa: “Sure, which brand and capacity of power bank would you like?”
Customer: “Alexa, order Samsung 10.000 mAh power bank.”
Alexa: “Thank you for placing your order, it will be delivered to your address within 3 business days.”
One more reason for brands to adapt and to consider smart speakers, as Voice Commerce could establish itself as the shopping of the future because it is so much faster.