Security and inoperability are the biggest barriers for Smart Speaker intenders

BOSTON--Ownership of smart speakers globally is growing substantially, but while the US is still the largest market for shipments worldwide, the highest intent to purchase smart speakers was found in China. Investigating user personas of both smart speaker intenders and owners, a new report from the User Experience Strategies (UXS) group at Strategy Analytics has found that while purchase intent is high, cost and concerns for security and inoperability are the biggest barriers to convert intenders into users. Furthermore, with the exception of early adopter techies, use of smart speakers is not increasing after initial purchase, and in many instances is slowing.

Key report findings:

  • The highest intent to purchase smart speakers is found in China, with the number of intenders almost doubling over the past year. While the overall percentage of intenders in the US is lower, it also has doubled since 2017.
  • As other smart home products continue to become more mass-produced, costs in this space are coming down. This is slowly allowing users to build smart-home solutions which require a voice-enabled hub.
  • Education and marketing will be key to ensuring awareness of a smart speaker’s full capabilities, particularly post-purchase. Accompanying apps and even the speakers themselves should be more proactive in alerting users when new features are available, offering to provide tutorials either audibly or visually (if enabled).

Christopher Dodge , Associate Director and report author commented, “Part of the problem in decreasing usage once consumers own a smart speaker is awareness when new features and capabilities are released to provide more use cases. Proactive engagement from the smart speaker itself can help to make the experience more compelling and ensure that the smart speaker is being used for far more use cases than it was originally purchased for.”

Added Chris Schreiner , Director, Syndicated Research UXIP, “But one of the biggest barriers to increasing use-cases of existing smart speakers continues to be the lack of interoperability and seamlessness between devices of different OEMs. Solutions which provide the best integration of different ecosystems throughout the home, in addition to less input and effort from the user, will maximize use cases and provide the best smart speaker in the long term.

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