Consumer Intent to Buy Amazon Echo, Google Home and Other Voice Assistants Remains Low, Study Says

The findings come from GfK’s new “Commanding Media” report, one of an annual series of reports known as The Home Technology Monitor.

SAN FRANCISCO – More than three-quarters of consumers in the United States have used voice commands to operate a digital home assistant – such as Amazon Echo, Echo Dot and Google Home – but ownership and intent to buy the devices remain low, according to a new report by market research institute Gfk.

New research from GfK shows that 76% of U.S. consumers (ages 13 to 64) have used voice commands on any device. Within this group, 69% say they have used speech to operate a smartphone; however, tablets (21%), car radios/navigation (20%), computers (18%) and TV sets (14%) registered much lower levels.

Less than two years after introduction, digital home assistants have yet to make more than a small dent in the U.S. market, with just 11% of consumers saying they own either an Amazon Echo/Dot (10%) or Google Home (2%). And, among non-owners, intent to buy a digital home assistant is low: just 3% are “very likely” to purchase one in the next year.

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The findings come from GfK’s new “Commanding Media” report, one of an annual series of reports known as The Home Technology Monitor. The study explores the general use of voice commands with technology devices, along with a deep dive into the usage of Amazon Echo and Google Home devices.

“The use of voice opens up new relationships between consumers, device makers, voice service providers, and advertisers that will need to be carefully navigated,” says David Tice, senior vice president, consulting, GfK. “With these devices integrated so closely into their lives, consumers will be especially sensitive to false steps – whether it be violating the privacy of conversations, prioritizing search results based on payments, promotion of certain shopping services above others, or enabling intrusive advertising.”

The report shows that almost half (46%) of those who own digital home assistants say they use the devices at least regularly, and about two in 10 (19%) turn to them “all the time.” Playing music is by far the most common application for the assistants, cited by two-thirds (63%) of owners.

Following are the top 10 ways people are using digital home assistants:

  1. Play streamed or downloaded music
  2. Ask a question
  3. Get news/weather/traffic
  4. Get sports news
  5. Control lights/thermostat/fans
  6. Check/revise calendar/to do lists
  7. Play videos
  8. Search for/play podcasts
  9. Read/compose emails/texts
  10. Order products from Amazon or elsewhere

The new study is based on interviews with 1,012 members of GfK’s KnowledgePanel, of which 108 were owners of digital home assistants. The report also includes brief details about voice command usage with smartphones, tablets, computers and TVs/TV-connected devices, as well as a user experience evaluation of these devices, and more.

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