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Smart Speaker Usage on the Rise Down Under

Smart Audio Report Australia reports that smart speakers are increasing the time people spend listening to audio programming

Australia, smart speakers, Edison Research, Commercial Radio Australia, TalkViaA new study from Australia has found that not only is adoption of smart speaker devices on the rise, but that the devices are extending access to radio to more places and demonstrating that consumers in that country are open to the increasing possibilities of voice technology.

These were some of the findings from the latest Smart Audio Report Australia 2021, which found that a growing number of households are investing in smart speakers, are planning to purchase another speaker within the immediate future and place a high value on audio programming.

All in all, the report found that smart speakers are encouraging owners to listen to more music and news from online audio and AM/FM/DAB+ radio.

[Read: Is the Smart Speaker Like a New Age Home Radio?]

Ownership of smart speaker devices is on the rise across the board in Australia. The survey found that more than one quarter of Australians aged 12 or older — which comes to 5.6 million people — now own a smart speaker, a 53% jump from 2020 when only 17% owned smart speaker devices.

smart speaker
Photo: Getty Images Helen Ross

Among those Australians that currently own a smart speaker, 24% of those households own three or more of those devices, up from 13% in 2020.

The survey also found that both smart speaker user satisfaction and the intention to purchase is high, with the report predicting that as many as 8.7 million devices will be added to Australian households.

Usage is also on the rise. Of those in Australia who already own a smart speaker, 67% use them on a daily basis while 88% use them at least once during the week. Among owners, 61% plan to purchase another device in the near future while 38% of non-speaker-owning households say they plan to purchase one in the next six months.

These figures are on par with American smart speaker ownership in 2021. In 2018, only 5% of Australians owned a smart speaker, compared to 18% in the United States. That gap narrowed in 2021 with 33% of Americans owning a smart speaker compared with 26% ownership in Australia.

The study also revealed how listeners were engaging with their smart speaker devices.

Australia, smart speakers, Edison Research, Commercial Radio Australia, TalkViaForty-nine percent of Australians have used a voice assistant to interact with a brand or service. Sixty-seven percent of smart speaker owners listen to the device while multitasking, such as while cooking, doing chores or entertaining. Users are also reporting that smart speakers are changing the way that people interact with other technology — 49% say they’ve begun using their voice-operated assistant on their smartphone more frequently since purchasing a smart speaker device, with 40% saying they spend less time with other technology once they began using their smart speaker.

The report also touched on parental use of smart speakers. Fifty-one percent with children in the household said reducing screen time was a reason they purchased a smart speaker with 69% agreeing that the devices have made it easier to entertain children.

Among smart speaker brands, Google continues to dominate the smart speaker market in Australia with 24% owning a Google smart speaker, 3% owning an Amazon device and 1% owning an Apple HomePod.

Photo: Apple

“Smart speakers have fundamentally changed the way people interact with media,” said Megan Lazovick, vice president at Edison Research, who presented the results in a webinar. The report was conducted by Edison Research and was commissioned by Commercial Radio Australia, the Australian commercial radio broadcasting group, along with TalkVia, an Australian technology company.

“It is a good bet that the Australian population will continue to grow more comfortable with this technology and opportunities will grow for those in audio and advertising if they embrace smart audio, too,” Lazovick said.

The Smart Audio Report Australia study was conducted via a national online survey of 5,000 adults aged 18 and older in Australia in April and May 2021. Additional data was taken from the Infinite Dial Australia from Commercial Radio Australia, Southern Cross Austereo/LiSTNR, Triton Digital and Edison Research.