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Smart speaker ownership grows – Business Insider



amazon echo
More people are buying smart speakers, but they might
not be using them to buy more things.

AP/Elaine Thompson

  • The percentage of customers in the United States who
    say they have a smart
    has risen to 20% this year, according to a study by
    financial-services firm Synchrony.
  • That’s double the percentage of consumers who said they
    had a smart speaker just a year ago.
  • According to some reports, however, retailers aren’t
    seeing the boon they were hoping for with voice shopping
    enabled by smart speakers. 

Smart speakers are becoming more popular in the United States.

According to a survey by financial-services firm Synchrony, the
percentage of customers who say they own a smart speaker has
doubled from 10% in 2017 to 20% in 2018. That growth is primarily
from older millennials, who are more likely than any other
generation to own the smart devices, the study found.

1,255 people responded to Synchrony’s survey.

The growth in smart speakers has launched
a major retail battle
 among America’s largest tech
brands and retailers. Amazon has
invested heavily in making Alexa
the most popular voice-operated assistant in the hopes that
customers will use it to buy things with their voice. Google has
partnered with major retailers like Target and
Walmart to
do the same.

Still, nobody’s quite sure that voice will actually become the
next frontier of online shopping in the way that it’s hoped to
be. The ubiquity of the devices doesn’t appear to have led to an
increase in sales done with the devices. A report from the
Information, which cited internal documents from Amazon, said
that only 2% of customers who own Alexa-enabled devices
have actually used it to make a purchase
 at least

Of those 2%, only 10% of those who used it once came back to use
it again, indicating that they either used it as a novelty or
that they weren’t quite pleased with the experience. 

Amazon now might be signaling that it has all but given up on
voice shopping. During Amazon’s quarterly earnings call on
July 26, the company’s head of investor relations, Dave Fildes,

said that people
were “enjoying” the company’s Alexa-powered
devices, but he didn’t directly address its role as a
voice-shopping service.

“I think we’re having a lot of success with devices and customers
are enjoying those,” Fildes said in response to an analyst’s
question about the impact that Alexa is having on Amazon’s retail

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