The good news: smart speakers—Amazon Echo/Alexa, Google Home—are on track to become a compelling new sales channel for a wide array of businesses. The bad news: Amazon will soon have even more power over brands.
At the end of the 2017 holiday season, roughly 15% of US households owned smart speakers. Amazon’s Alexa and similar technology are now used more frequently than smartphone voice assistants like Siri.
57% of smart speaker owners have bought something using voice commands. Of that group, a third spent over $100 on their purchase. Surprisingly, buyers are more likely to make first time rather than repeat purchases. And, a significant group of smart speaker users (31%) say they have spent more money shopping since they acquired the hardware.
If a consumer verbalizes the desire to buy something without specifying the brand, Alexa will make a suggestion, oftentimes the product designated "Amazon’s Choice." According to recent research by Bain & Co., roughly 20% of the time the recommendation is an Amazon private label product. That is far greater than Amazon private label’s "fair share" based on sales volume. Yikes!
Americans who have bought smart speakers tend to be younger, African American or Asian, or parents with young children. 45% of them say they plan to buy additional smart speakers soon.
Sources: Bloomberg 2017, Comscore 2017, eMarketer 2017, NPD 2017, National Public Radio 2017, Search Engine People 2017