Because of the highly sensitive nature of actual sales and user data, we don’t know, and aren’t likely to ever know just how many smart speakers are being sold within Australia for each of the brands on the market.
But thanks to new research by Kantar, we’ve got a pretty good idea how things are tracking.
I’m as sceptical as the next guy about surveys of users, but Kantar have a 10,000 member panel of users in Australia, and I can tell you that on this particular survey they got an almost 90% response rate – so this is pretty epic data overall.
There’s a lot to unpack here – so let me try. Firstly, 13% of households own a smart speaker – and by that we mean any Google Home product, any Amazon Echo product, or an Apple HomePod.
That’s 1.5 million homes with Smart speakers.
Looking at the entire population, 6.4% say they know a lot about smart speakers, another 27.3% say they know a little – but get this challenge for marketers – 33.7% say they’ve heard of them but know nothing about them, another 19.5% say they’ve never heard of smart speakers!
Among those 13% who are owners, the brand share is pretty clear – Google has 70% of the market. Amazon sits at 17% with apple at 6%. Other – whatever they are, is 8%.
The Google home Mini stands out as the most popular, making up 41% of all speakers, while the original Google Home is second at 24%.
You want MORE?
What’s interesting to me though is the multiple-speaker market.
Almost 30% of owners have more than one smart speaker, with 5 or more speakers owned by 5.5% of smart speaker enabled homes, 8.6% have four speakers, 5.3% have three and 9% of smart speaker homes have two speakers.
The interesting part? Amazon Echo users are more likely to have a second speaker – with 39% of Amazon owners having more than one device – that’s just 18% in Google homes.
Going back to that Google Home Mini popularity – you might remember a big deal done with Woolies in the early days. That might explain why 54% of Google Home Mini owners identify that they got it “Free” or “as a Gift”. That’s not unusual though, these speakers are clearly popular as gifts, easily 30% of all speakers were received as a gift, though the more expensive Apple HomePod was gifted to just 5% of it’s owners.
Wait, There’s a Problem
One of the most important things for any product is the “Net Promoter Score” – that is, would you recommend one to a friend.
Sadly, just 36% of Smart Speaker owners are positive. 40% are passive while 24% are negative.
Those numbers are higher among Amazon users with just 22% as positive, and while Apple has the highest positive ranking at 43%, they also have the highest negative with 32% – with the HomePod, you either love it or your don’t.
The main reason for Apple’s woes are the ease of use and Siri’s ability to Answer questions correctly, sighted as detractors in a big way. And then there’s music – Apple owners rather negative about the lack of support for anything other than Apple Music.
Did someone say Music?
Yeah, the numbers are huge. Everyone uses their device for streaming music – everyone. And 42% of people identify Streaming as their primary use for the smart speaker.
Apple will be happy, because there’s a large portion of HomePod owners who say they switched from Free to Paid music streaming after acquiring a smart speaker, more than for any other brand.
Across all speakers people say they are listening to more music than ever before.
However, there’s another issue. Just 6.4% of non smart speaker owners intend to buy a speaker in the next year. Another 5.9% intend to buy one, just not this year.
That leaves 87.6% of people unconvinced about the need for such a product.
You’ve got some work to do Apple, Google and Amazon. These numbers, while impressive, also highlight how early we are in this market, and how if Apple could potentially bring out a more affordable product – they could just sweep the pool. We’ll see.
Trev is a Technology Commentator, Dad, Speaker and Rev Head.
He produces and hosts two popular podcasts, EFTM and Two Blokes Talking Tech. He also appears on over 50 radio stations across Australia weekly, and is the resident Tech Expert on Channel 9’s Today Show each day and appears regularly on A Current Affair.
Father of three, he is often found down in his Man Cave.