Smart speakers may be a buzz topic for the music industry still, but a new study suggests that the use of voice assistants like Alexa and Siri in the car may be a bigger tech trend. In the US, at least: Voicebot and Cerence interviewed just over 1,000 Americans and extrapolated the data to suggest that 83.8 million people there are monthly active users of in-car voice assistants – “The population reach of voice assistants in the car is over 45% higher than through smart speakers,” is its claim.

On that latter stat, eMarketer recently claimed that there will be 83.1 million Americans using smart speakers this year, while Edison Research recently claimed that around 60 million Americans now own a smart speaker – note the difference in those two studies between ‘usage’ and ‘ownership’.

“Voice in the home is useful but unessential, but in the car, with an increasing amount of distractions, buttons, and obstacles to navigate, it’s critical,” said Cerence CEO Sanjay Dhawan, although as a company that develops in-car technology including voice-controlled experiences, it clearly has skin in this game. Still, the study is a reminder that voice assistants are about more than just speakers around the home – and with driving having been such an important consumption context for music via radio in the past, what voice assistant use means for in-car streaming is an important topic.

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Music Ally's Head of Insight

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