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Smart Speakers Are a Key Gift Trend for 2017

It might behoove broadcasters to be early adopters of this technology

If you thought smart speakers peaked as the “it” holiday gift of 2016, you’d be wrong. That opinion is backed up by results from a recent online study released by Jacobs Media Strategies, jācapps and Sonic Ai.

Although 18% of online households already own at least one smart speaker, another 20% of respondents age 13 and older with Internet access said the intend to buy a smart speaker during the 2017 holiday season. In fact, the study showed that almost half of of households with a smart speaker (40%) already have two or more of the gadget, and 61% of the respondents plan to purchase at least one more device.

“Smart speakers are clearly the must-have gadget for the holidays. Like anything else, habits will form quickly, which is the remarkable opportunity for broadcasters and podcasters. They need a smart audio strategy for smart speakers,” said Sonic Ai co-founder Steve Goldstein.

The study also shows that 11% of online households owns an Amazon Alexa-enabled smart speaker (Echo, Echo Dot and Show devices); and 69% of these owners have at least one Alexa “skill” enabled (45% have two or more skills enabled, and 24% have one enabled). However, one-third hadn’t enabled any skills for the device.

Men are more likely than women to have a smart speaker (13% as opposed to 10% of respondents owned one). But men and women were equally likely to say they planned to buy a new smart speaker (20% of each gender indicated they would do so).

The 13–34 age bracket was the most likely to jump on the bandwagon (14% did so), followed, predictably by those between the ages of 35 and 54 (10%), while only 7% of those aged 55 and older owned one.

This study was designed by Jacobs Media Research Director Jason Hollins. From Nov. 17­–21, they conducted a nationally representative web survey among 1,005 online respondents age 13 and older using the Survata Publisher Network.

“New technologies such as the proliferation of smart speaker devices undoubtedly bring challenges to the AM/FM landscape, but with that comes vast opportunities for radio as well as audio consumers alike,” said Hollins, who noted the next Techsurvey will reflect this change.