NPR and Edison Research have published the latest version of their Smart Audio Report, which tracks smart-speaker ownership and usage in the US. The key headline: “18% of Americans 18+ own a smart speaker, or around 43 million people”.

The report, based on an online survey of 909 people in late May, divides smart-speaker owners into two groups: the 26% who’ve owned their device for a year or more (the ‘first adopters’) and the 74% who’ve bought it in the last 12 months (the ‘early mainstream’).

It’s clear that multiple-device ownership is common: 28% of the first adopters have two smart speakers in their house, while 27% have three or more. For early mainstream owners, these figures are 30% and 16% respectively.

Here’s something interesting too: 25% of first adopters say they listen to audio most often through their smart speakers – more than the 23% who said their smartphone or tablet. Although beware hailing this as a massive tipping point: another 21% said their main audio device is a “speaker connected to smartphone” – so phones still rule the roost.

Music remains the most popular activity for smart speakers in the US: 90% of first adopters and 89% of early mainstream users have asked their speaker to play music in the last week, ahead of asking a general question (83% / 85%); getting the weather forecast (81% / 85% respectively); and setting a timer or alarm (66% / 69%). 63% of first adopters say they are listening to more audio since getting their speaker, and that rises to 70% for early mainstream users.

EarPods and phone

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