The number of smart speaker users in the UK is set to grow by almost one-third in 2019, after doubling this year.
And the speaker of choice is decidedly the Amazon Echo, according to eMarketer’s inaugural forecast on smart speaker usage in the UK– but how long will Amazon be able to hold on to the lead?
In 2018, 9.5 million people in the UK will use a smart speaker, up 98.6% over 2017. More than two-thirds of those users (68.0%) will use an Amazon Echo, while 26.2% will use a Google Home – and if you are doing the maths, there is an overlap as some people use and own more than one device.
“Early adopters tend to be open-minded about brands, usually picking whichever speaker is first available in stores,” explains eMarketer forecasting analyst Jaimie Chung. “Amazon got to the UK before Google, and usage reflects this.”
In 2019, total smart speaker usage in the UK will grow another 31.6% to 12.6 million people. However, Amazon’s share will decrease to 63.8%, while Google’s share will increase to 29.5%. eMarketer expects this trend to continue through 2020.
“Market shares will continue to shift as smart speaker users learn the nuances of the different voice assistants,” Chung says. “Each assistant works with a different set of smart-home devices, music subscription services, video players, etc. So as users adopt more of these, they will choose their assistant accordingly. We’re even beginning to see some crossover with Apple Music coming to the Echo.”
Despite the growing capabilities of smart speakers, people still tend to use them for basic functions: listening to music or podcasts, listening to the news, asking for weather and traffic updates, and asking general questions.