Smart speakers used primarily for music and information — and shopping

Smart home devices like Alexa and Google Home assistant have boomed this year, with 39 million Americans owning a smart speaker. But what tasks are people actually using their speakers for? A survey of users has been conducted by Venture Beat to answer this question.

Venture Beat surveyed over 1,000 users of Alexa and Google Home devices to assess how they use their devices and how they feel about them. The essential findings of the survey were that most people used their devices for core functions and had issues discovering third-party apps. Despite this, users are generally very satisfied with their devices and would recommend them to others. In addition, the aims of these devices to drive purchasing seems to be succeeding, as they are changing users’ behaviors in particular by using the devices to shop.

Most users utilized their device multiple times per day, and the users skew slightly more female than male. The behavior change aspect can be seen through the changes in routine that the device leads to — around a quarter of survey respondents said that the devices have changed their behavior a lot, and an additional 40 percent said that their behavior had changed a little bit. Respondents described relying on the device for day to day information and that it had become integrated into their life.

In terms of functions, the most common use of smart speakers was to play music, with 75 percent of those surveyed using the music function, some of them multiple times per day. Other popular uses of smart speakers were checking the weather, asking for information, and setting timers. Some more fringe functions included checking sports scores, setting reminders, playing games, and shopping.

Speaking of shopping, a large chunk of users — 43 percent — had made a purchase through their smart speaker. These purchases were predominately made through Amazon or Google’s shopping services, though some third party apps also offer purchases and subscriptions. Another source of expenditure on the devices was grocery shopping, with 53 percent of users ordering food delivery through their device. The setup of the devices makes reordering items very easy, which seems to be encouraging users to make regular grocery orders through them.

Even though most respondents used less than four third-party apps, suggesting either a limited interest in the further uses of the speaker or a difficulty in discovering new apps, users were satisfied with their experience. Of survey participants 44 percent were very satisfied with their device, and a further 35 percent were somewhat satisfied.

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