The number of smart speaker users is growing at a compound annual growth rate of 47.9%, according to a new report by eMarketer. That's faster than any tech product since the smartphone, and will result in more smart speaker users than wearable tech users this year.
In the U.S. alone, that number will be over 90 million.
Smart speaker sales are trending up ... and quickly. eMarketer[/caption]Of course, smart speakers have an advantage. One can be used by many people, while generally only one person is using a smartwatch or step counter or heart monitor at any given time."We have raised our forecast significantly for US smart speaker users from 2017 through 2020, based on new data that shows stronger-than-expected adoption," says eMarketer.Interestingly, eMarketer predicts Amazon will maintain market share leadership into 2020. Just a few days ago, new data from Canalys indicated that Google is now selling more smart speakers than market innovator Amazon. Of course, sales leadership in any given quarter doesn't change the installed base share, but still, that's surprising.Two-thirds of smart speaker users in the U.S. this year will use an Amazon Echo, eMarketer says.What's driving the quick adoption?Low prices, apparently."The change is based largely on market events in late 2017, including the launch of Google’s more affordable Home Mini speaker and deep holiday discounting by the major manufacturers, which removed price as a barrier to entry," says eMarketer. "It’s also due to stronger-than-expected performance by Amazon Echo and the entrance of new players into the market."
And it's not just tech early adopters any more.The biggest driver now is families, younger Gen X women, and parents.While Amazon and Google currently own the market, Apple's HomePod has some potential to gain share this year. And Facebook has been rumored to be working on a smart speaker as well. Microsoft is working to bring Cortana to market in Harman Kardon devices.