Consumer Intelligence Research Partners (CIRP) now reports that smart speaker growth is beginning to level off.  It could be that the novelty is fading.

According to the firm’s latest survey, their analysis argues there were 53 million smart speakers in US homes at the end of September.  That’s up from 50 million in June.  Echo devices are still dominating with 70 percent of the market share.  Google Home has 25 percent and Apple’s HomePod is in 5 percent of smart speaker households.

Previous reports had indicated that Google Home was gaining ground on Amazon Echo.

On November 7, Facebook’s smart display, Portal, went on sale.  Not only that, but Samsung’s Galaxy Home smart speaker is coming soon as well.  Not surprisingly, these two devices are probably going to have a hard time finding a solid footing in the industry.  Google’s Home Hub smart display was just released and Google Home Mini are being discounted as holiday shopping begins in earnest.  There are also discounts on Amazon’s Echo devices.

Smart Speaker Accessory Ownership

Source: CIRP (October 2018)

In general, smart speakers have been disappointing as marketing channels or platforms.  But, they have succeeded in accelerating the sale of a wide range of smart home accessories and devices, from thermostats and security systems to smart light bulbs and plugs.

According to the CIRP survey extrapolation, 70 percent of Google Home owners and nearly 60 percent of Amazon Echo owners have at least one kind of smart home accessory. Almost half (49 percent) of Google Home owners and 36 percent of Amazon Echo have some connected home security accessory, such as smart locks, doorbells, video cameras, or an alarm system.  Approximately the same percentage of Amazon Echo and Google Home owners have a smart lighting/outlet accessory and a similar, lower percentage of each has a smart thermostat.

Every time there is a new technology that comes out, there is a period of anticipation and hype.  Afterwords, you’ll see actual use cases coming to light.  This is where we are at right now with smart speakers.

Is there still an opportunity for marketers to use smart speakers as an effective advertising or marketing channel?  Sure there is, but it will take a lot more effort and time and creativity on the part of brands, devices and developers for the opportunity to become a reality.

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