The Smart Audio Report 2020 from NPR and Edison Research

Use of Smart Speakers in the U.S. Increases During Quarantine

NPR and Edison Research release The Smart Audio Report Spring 2020, find 77% of adults in the U.S. have had a change in their typical routine due to COVID-19 outbreak

New research from The Smart Audio Report from NPR and Edison Research finds that 77% of those in the U.S. age 18+ are experiencing a change in their typical routine due to the outbreak of COVID-19 as of April 1, and voice-assistant usage has expanded during these disruptions. The annual survey, part of the industry’s longest-running public research series about smart speaker consumer behavior in the U.S., captures new data on smart speaker ownership — now reaching 24% of the U.S. population A18+ (60M) — and how consumers are weathering the COVID-19 pandemic at the time the survey fielded March 31- April 1, 2020.

The full study is available now at npr.org/smartaudio.

With stay-at-home orders and the closing of nonessential businesses across the country from mid-March to the present, adults in the U.S. are behaving in accordance with regulations. Forty-one percent of U.S. adults say they are staying at home and not leaving unless it is an emergency, and 54% are only going to places they feel safe and/or are necessary. The Smart Audio Report measured how those affected by the restrictions are using voice assistants:

  • 36% of U.S. adult smart speaker owners say they are using their device more to listen to music and entertainment since the outbreak, and 52% of 18-34-year-olds say the same.
  • 35% of U.S. adult smart speaker owners are listening to more news and information since the COVID-19 outbreak, and 50% of those ages 18-34 say the same.
  • Usage of voice commands in general has increased slightly since the COVID-19 outbreak, with 52% of voice-assistant users saying they use voice tech several times a day or nearly every day, compared to 46% before the outbreak.

“With tens of millions of Americans no longer commuting, smart speakers are becoming even more important as a conduit for news and information,” noted Edison Research SVP Tom Webster, “and this increased usage and facility with voice assistants will likely increase demand for this technology in vehicles once our commutes resume.”

“Our daily routines may have changed, but our need for easy access to reliable journalism remains critical – even more so than ever before, “ said NPR Vice President of New Platform Partnerships Joel Sucherman. “We see that in listening patterns and the continued growth in the number of devices Americans have in their homes.”

Other key findings include:

Of those who use voice assistants, more than two-thirds say they ‘make their lives easier’.

46% of smart speaker owners say they use their smartphone voice assistant more since acquiring their smart speaker

59% of smart speaker owners who also use a voice assistant on their smartphone say the tasks they use for each of the devices are mostly different

52% of smart speaker non-owners who use some type of voice commands are likely or very likely to buy a smart speaker in the next six months — 34% of all smart speaker non-owners say they are likely or very likely to buy a device in the next six months

The Smart Audio Report from NPR and Edison Research, which debuted in 2017, is a recurring study on trends in Smart Speaker ownership and voice assistant user behavior. A full archive of research from the Report is available at www.npr.org/smartaudio.

How This Study Was Conducted
The Smart Audio Report Spring 2020 is based upon a national telephone survey of 1,002 U.S. adults age 18 and older, conducted December 31, 2019 through January 5, 2020, and a national online survey of 1,660 U.S. adults age 18 and older, conducted March 31, 2020 through April 1, 2020. Ethnographic interviews were conducted in Denver, Kansas City, and Orlando. The device owner data was weighted to nationally representative figures on Smart Speaker users from The Infinite Dial 2020 from Edison Research and Triton Digital.

About NPR
NPR’s rigorous reporting and unsurpassed storytelling connect with millions of Americans every day — on the air, online, and in person. NPR strives to create a more informed public — one challenged and invigorated by a deeper understanding and appreciation of events, ideas, and cultures. With a nationwide network of award-winning journalists and 17 international bureaus, NPR and its Member Stations are never far from where a story is unfolding. Listeners can find NPR by tuning in to their local Member stations (npr.org/stations), and now it’s easy to listen to stories on smart speaker devices. Ask your smart speaker to, “Play NPR,” and you’ll be tuned into your local Member station’s live stream. Your speaker can also access NPR podcasts, the NPR One skill, NPR News Now, and Visual Newscast is available for screened speakers. Get more information at npr.org/about and by following NPR Extra on Facebook, Twitter and Instagram.

About Edison Research
Edison Research conducts survey research and provides strategic information to a broad array of clients, including Activision, AMC Theatres, Disney, Dolby Laboratories, Google, Oracle, the U.S. International Broadcasting Bureau, Pandora, Samsung, Siemens, Sony, The Gates Foundation, and Univision. Edison is the leading podcast research company in the world and has conducted research on the medium for NPR, Slate, ESPN, PodcastOne, WNYC Studios, and many more companies in the space. Another specialty for Edison is its work for media companies throughout the world, conducting research in North America, South America, Africa, Asia, Australia, and Europe. Edison is also the leading provider of consumer exit polling and has conducted face-to-face research in almost every imaginable venue. Since 2004, Edison Research has been the sole provider of Election Day data to the National Election Pool, conducting exit polls and collecting precinct vote returns to project and analyze results for every major presidential primary and general election.

The Smart Audio Report Winter 2019 from NPR and Edison Research

NPR and Edison Research Report: 60M U.S. Adults 18+ Own a Smart Speaker    

The Smart Audio Report Winter 2019 Finds  More Than Half of U.S. Adults Use Voice Assistants 

The latest survey from The Smart Audio Report, conducted after the December 2019 holidays, confirms continued growth in the smart speaker market with 60M people in the U.S. A18+ (24% of the population) owning at least one smart speaker device. The average smart speaker household now features 2.6 devices, up from 2.3 devices per household at the same time last year. The new data was presented today during the 2019 VOICE Live event at CES and is available at www.npr.org/smartaudio

The nationally-conducted telephone survey of 1,000+ persons 18+ also shows 54% of the U.S. population have ever used some type of voice-command technology, such as voice assistants on smartphones, smart speakers and other devices. Of those who use voice assistants, 24% say they use the technology daily. 

“Today there are more ways than ever for audiences to engage with audio content. That’s why we’ve partnered with Edison Research for three years to create an annual study on the growth of smart speakers,” says NPR CEO John Lansing. “This latest report again shows the steady growth in smart speakers and the substantial use of voice activation across platforms.  NPR sees these increases reflected in the continuing growth of listening to NPR radio streams and podcasts on smart speakers.We’re eager to see that growth continue.” 

“Smart speakers are remarkable in that once people become accustomed to voice assistants, they purchase multiple devices in order to surround themselves with the technology,” says Tom Webster, Senior Vice President at Edison Research. “On average, those who have one now have 2.6 devices in their home, which is sure to increase the amount of time they spend with audio content.”

The Smart Audio Report from NPR and Edison Research, which debuted in June 2017, is a recurring study on trends in smart speaker ownership and user behavior. A full archive of research from the Report is available at www.npr.org/smartaudio. As an early partner with manufacturers like Amazon, Google and Apple, NPR’s wealth of audio content is easily accessed via voice assistants, including smart speakers. 

Methodology
Interviews conducted via telephone from December 30, 2019 – January 5, 2020 among a sample of 1,015 respondents. The margin of error for total respondents is +/-3.1% at the 95% confidence level. Seven-hundred and eight interviews were obtained with respondents on their cell phones, and 35 interviews were completed in Spanish. Data are weighted to represent the U.S. population ages 18 and older.

About NPR
NPR’s rigorous reporting and unsurpassed storytelling connect with millions of Americans every day — on the air, online, and in person. NPR strives to create a more informed public — one challenged and invigorated by a deeper understanding and appreciation of events, ideas, and cultures. With a nationwide network of award-winning journalists and 17 international bureaus, NPR and its Member Stations are never far from where a story is unfolding. It’s now easy to listen to NPR on smart speaker devices. Ask your smart speaker to, “Play NPR,” and you’ll access the local Member station’s live stream. Your speaker can also access NPR podcasts, NPR One, NPR News Now, and the Visual Newscast is available for screened speakers. Get more information at npr.org/about and by following NPR Extra on Facebook, Twitter and Instagram.

About Edison Research
Edison Research conducts survey research and provides strategic information to a broad array of clients, including Activision, AMC Theatres, Disney, Dolby Laboratories, Google, Oracle, the U.S. International Broadcasting Bureau, Pandora, Samsung, Siemens, Sony, The Gates Foundation, and Univision. Edison is the leading podcast research company in the world and has conducted research on the medium for NPR, Slate, ESPN, PodcastOne, WNYC Studios, and many more companies in the space.  Another specialty for Edison is its work for media companies throughout the world, conducting research in North America, South America, Africa, Asia, Australia, and Europe. Edison is also the leading provider of consumer exit polling and has conducted face-to-face research in almost every imaginable venue. Since 2004, Edison Research has been the sole provider of Election Day data to the National Election Pool, conducting exit polls and collecting precinct vote returns to project and analyze results for every major presidential primary and general election.

 

The Smart Audio Report from NPR and Edison Research, Spring 2019

Survey finds security concerns do not inhibit regular use of installed
smart speaker devices, but are limiting further adoption

Click here to download The Smart Audio Report 2019, or to view the webinar.

New research in The Smart Audio Report series reveals how smart speaker user behavior and perceptions are evolving as owners ‘settle in’ with their devices and the market matures out of its introductory phase. According to the Spring 2019 survey, seven-in-ten smart speaker owners use their device daily despite common concerns around security and privacy, while those same factors are leading reasons non-owners have not acquired a device. The Smart Audio Report Spring 2019, part of the industry’s longest-running public research series about smart speaker consumer behavior in the U.S., is available now at npr.org/smartaudio.

“We are starting to see more pragmatic usage of these devices,” said Tom Webster, SVP of Edison Research. “The longer people have these devices, the less experimentation they do with them — but the more ingrained into everyday life these devices become.”

Among the 53M+ smart speaker owners A18+ in the U.S.:

69% of smart speaker owners use their device daily, and households with children are even more likely to use them daily

Smart speaker owners who have owned the device for 2+ years use an average seven (7) skills per week, compared to an average 12 skills per week among those who have owned the device for less than three (3) months.

66% of those who own a smart speaker with a screen say the screen has made it easier to discover new content, and the same number say having a screen makes the smart speaker “easier to use”

“We continue to see those that have voice assistant devices love them, using them every day to get the news, listen to podcasts, live stream radio stations and more,” said Joel Sucherman, NPR Vice President, New Platform Partnerships. “The latest data suggest we’ve moved into a maturation phase in this space, in which earning and maintaining the trust of potential smart speaker buyers, while also demonstrating new functionality, may be a key to continuing dynamic growth,”

While almost half of smart speaker owners are planning to acquire another device, the Report also finds a slowing interest among non-owners in acquiring their first smart speaker. Among people who do not own a smart speaker and are interested in acquiring one, the top two (2) reasons they have not are:
63% are concerned that hackers could use a smart speaker to gain access to their home or personal information
55% are bothered that smart speakers are always listening

Security remains a concern around these devices among current users as well. Almost 60% of smart speaker owners worry about hackers, and more than half indicated it bothers them that their smart speaker is always listening.

The Smart Audio Report from NPR and Edison Research, which debuted in June 2017, is a recurring study on trends in Smart Speaker ownership and voice assistant user behavior. A full archive of research from the Report is available at www.npr.org/smartaudio. NPR was the featured Flash Briefing provider on Amazon Alexa devices at launch in 2014, and also on Google Assistant, Microsoft Cortana, Samsung Bixby and Apple Siri devices.

How This Study Was Conducted
The Smart Audio Report Spring 2019 is based upon a national online survey of 1,641 Americans ages 18+, 812 who indicated that they owned at least one Smart Speaker and 829 who indicated they did not own a smart speaker. The device owner data was weighted to nationally representative figures on Smart Speaker users from The Infinite Dial 2019 from Edison Research and Triton Digital.

About NPR
NPR’s rigorous reporting and unsurpassed storytelling connect with millions of Americans every day — on the air, online, and in person. NPR strives to create a more informed public — one challenged and invigorated by a deeper understanding and appreciation of events, ideas, and cultures. With a nationwide network of award-winning journalists and 17 international bureaus, NPR and its Member Stations are never far from where a story is unfolding. Listeners can find NPR by tuning in to their local Member stations (npr.org/stations), and now it’s easy to listen to our stories on smart speaker devices. Ask your smart speaker to, “Play NPR,” and you’ll be tuned into your local Member station’s live stream. Your speaker can also access NPR podcasts, NPR One, NPR News Now, and Visual Newscast is available for screened speakers. Get more information at npr.org/about and by following NPR Extra on Facebook, Twitter and Instagram.

About Edison Research
Edison Research conducts survey research and provides strategic information to a broad array of clients, including Activision, AMC Theatres, Disney, Dolby Laboratories, Google, Oracle, the U.S. International Broadcasting Bureau, Pandora, Samsung, Siemens, Sony, The Gates Foundation, and Univision. Edison is the leading podcast research company in the world and has conducted research on the medium for NPR, Slate, ESPN, PodcastOne, WNYC Studios, and many more companies in the space. Another specialty for Edison is its work for media companies throughout the world, conducting research in North America, South America, Africa, Asia, Australia, and Europe. Edison is also the leading provider of consumer exit polling and has conducted face-to-face research in almost every imaginable venue. Since 2004, Edison Research has been the sole provider of Election Day data to the National Election Pool, conducting exit polls and collecting precinct vote returns to project and analyze results for every major presidential primary and general election.

The 2019 Infinite Dial – Save the Date

Infinite Dial title slide

Please save the date for the 2019 Edison Research/Triton Digital Infinite Dial webinar, which will take place on Wednesday, March 6th, at 2 PM Eastern. We will be streaming the results live online, and the complete presentation will be available at edisonresearch.com and tritondigital.com subsequent to the webinar.

The Infinite Dial remains the longest-running study of consumer behaviors around media and technology in America. This year, we will continue to measure a number of trends in media usage and consumption habits, particularly about streaming media, radio, mobile media consumption, and social media behaviors, and we have expanded our podcasting and smart speaker sections. Attendees will learn how the streaming audio landscape has changed, which social media platforms are growing, and how smart speaker ownership is trending. The webinar will be hosted by Tom Webster, Senior Vice President, Edison Research and John Rosso, President, Market Development of Triton Digital.

Click to register and view the Infinite Dial 2019!

Fifty-three million U.S. Adults now own at least one Smart Speaker

Smart Speakers See 78% Increase Year Over Year: Smart Audio Report from NPR and Edison Research at CES

Multi-Device Households Drive Growth

The latest survey from NPR and Edison Research, conducted after the December 2018 holidays, confirms continued increases in the U.S. voice-activated smart speaker market: 53M people A18+ in the U.S. (21% of the population) now own at least one smart speaker, and the total number of devices in homes has increased 78% year-over-year. This new data from The Smart Audio Report, a recurring study launched in 2017, was presented January 7 during the CTA Research Summit at CES 2019 in Las Vegas and is available for download here.

According to the nationally-representative telephone survey of 1,000+ persons 18+, the average smart speaker household now features 2.3 devices, up from an average 1.7 devices per household at this time last year.

Other key findings from The Smart Audio Report Winter 2018 ownership survey include:

  • 52% of all smart speaker owners report using their device daily
  • 8% of people in the U.S. got a smart speaker during the 2018 holiday season, between Black Friday and the end of December 2018
  • 14M people in the U.S. got their first smart speaker device in 2018

“The growth in ownership, particularly the increase in devices per household, really speaks to the tremendous utility of voice assistant technology,” said Tom Webster, Sr. VP at Edison Research. “While these devices initially served as audio appliances, they are now becoming integrated into the fabric of everyday life for tens of millions of Americans.”

The Smart Audio Report from NPR and Edison Research, which debuted in June 2017, is a recurring study on trends in smart speaker ownership and user behavior. A full archive of research from the Report is available at www.npr.org/smartaudio. NPR is a default news source on all major smart speakers, including Amazon Alexa, Google Assistant, Apple Siri and Microsoft Cortana-enabled devices.

Click here to download The Smart Audio Report from NPR and Edison Research, Winter 2018.

Methodology
Interviews conducted via telephone from December 26-30, 2018 among a sample of 1,002 respondents. The margin of error for total respondents is +/-3.7% at the 95% confidence level. Six-hundred interviews were obtained with respondents on their cell phones, and 33 interviews were completed in Spanish. Data are weighted to represent the U.S. population ages 18 and older.

About NPR
NPR’s rigorous reporting and unsurpassed storytelling connect with millions of Americans every day—on the air, online, and in person. NPR strives to create a more informed public—one challenged and invigorated by a deeper understanding and appreciation of events, ideas, and cultures. With a nationwide network of award-winning journalists and 17 international bureaus, NPR and its Member Stations are never far from where a story is unfolding. Listeners consider public radio an enriching and enlightening companion; they trust NPR as a daily source of unbiased independent news, and inspiring insights on life and the arts. More information at npr.org/aboutnpr and following NPR Extra on Facebook, Twitter and Instagram.

About Edison Research
Edison Research conducts survey research and provides strategic information to a broad array of clients, including Activision, AMC Theatres, Disney, Dolby Laboratories, Google, Oracle, the U.S. International Broadcasting Bureau, Pandora, Samsung, Siemens, Sony, The Gates Foundation, and Univision. Edison is the leading podcast research company in the world and has conducted research on the medium for NPR, Slate, ESPN, PodcastOne, WNYC Studios, and many more companies in the space.  Another specialty for Edison is its work for media companies throughout the world, conducting research in North America, South America, Africa, Asia, Australia, and Europe. Edison is also the leading provider of consumer exit polling and has conducted face-to-face research in almost every imaginable venue. Since 2004, Edison Research has been the sole provider of Election Day data to the National Election Pool, conducting exit polls and collecting precinct vote returns to project and analyze results for every major presidential primary and general election.