Smart speaker satisfaction at 89 percent, HomePod adoption hits 3 percent, survey finds

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A new survey from Gene Munster's Loup Ventures found 89 percent of smart speaker owners are satisfied with their device, but despite coming packed with virtual assistant technology, most use the to play music or check the weather.




Of the 520 U.S. consumers polled as part of the survey, 31 percent of respondents said they owned a smart speaker, whether it be an Amazon Echo product, Google Home, Apple HomePod or other device with AI capabilities.

Further extrapolation found 55 percent owned an Amazon Echo device compared to 23 percent for Google Home and 3 percent for HomePod. Surprisingly, 15 percent of respondents said they use a product powered by Microsoft's Cortana, a virtual assistant that has not enjoyed wide adoption by speaker OEMs.

According to Munster, with penetration at about one-third of the U.S. population, the results roughly resemble the current market landscape, save for a "slight" overrepresentation of Cortana owners and underrepresentation for Echo.

Perhaps more important is customer satisfaction, which floated to a lofty 89 percent, excellent for a new device category. Breaking it down, the survey found 59 percent of respondents were "satisfied" with their smart speaker, while 30 percent were "very satisfied."

For Munster, the high satisfaction rates correspond to relatively low expectations. As evidenced in survey results, a majority of users demand very little from their smart device. The top three use cases are, in order, playing music, checking the weather and asking general questions.

Less than 15 percent of users say they access other functions like checking sports scores, placing calls or texts, and controlling smart home accessories. Navigation and purchases fall even lower on the chart at around 5 percent.

"The top use cases for smart speakers today make sense because they are well defined and they work consistently," Munster writes. "This works really well for simple google-able' questions or fetching info from a weather app, but as the use cases broaden, it is not always clear where to send a query."

Use cases are expected to multiply as companies like Apple and Amazon work to broaden their respective AI voice assistants. Current device iterations are merely a stepping off point to a more comprehensive ecosystem in which multiple devices and services are connected and controlled by a user's voice.

If and when voice controlled hardware takes over, it will represent a paradigm shift from current UI applications dominated by touchscreens.

Apple is well on its way to lead such a revolution with HomePod. The smart speaker boasts an array of beamforming microphones and adaptive audio technology to better detect and respond to user voice commands, while onboard components offer access to Apple's various connected platforms like iCloud, Apple Music and HomeKit. As AppleInsider noted in its review, all that is missing is a smarter Siri.
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Comments

  • Reply 1 of 34
    I knew it all along .
    The MSM was feeding us pro Amazon horse crap.
    chasmRobPalmer9watto_cobrajony0
  • Reply 2 of 34
    gatorguygatorguy Posts: 20,445member
    Wow, I figured folks were generally happy with their Echos and Homes but I wouldn't have thought it would go as high as 90% considering many of them are those sub-$50 minis. 
    RobPalmer9lkrupp
  • Reply 3 of 34
    radarthekatradarthekat Posts: 3,031moderator
    Seems Apple knows precisely where to place its bets.  The voice interaction paradigm will take some time to adopt, requiring human-like conversation capabilities on the part of device/ecosystem, and none are there yet.  For now, smart speakers are being adopted for music listening and a few voice-enabled conveniences.  And because they easily (wirelessly) connect to our gadgets.  So Apple designs a top-tier audio experience with excellent listening capabilities (even in a noisy environment) and gives it sufficient smarts to be ready for the voice-assistant future.  Hmm, bull’s eye again, Apple.  Well done.
    racerhomie3chasmMacProjahbladepropodRobPalmer92old4funStrangeDayswatto_cobrajony0
  • Reply 4 of 34
    gatorguygatorguy Posts: 20,445member
    Seems Apple knows precisely where to place its bets.  The voice interaction paradigm will take some time to adopt, requiring human-like conversation capabilities on the part of device/ecosystem, and none are there yet.  For now, smart speakers are being adopted for music listening and a few voice-enabled conveniences.  And because they easily (wirelessly) connect to our gadgets.  So Apple designs a top-tier audio experience with excellent listening capabilities (even in a noisy environment) and gives it sufficient smarts to be ready for the voice-assistant future.  Hmm, bull’s eye again, Apple.  Well done.
    All three have hit the bullseye according to Mr. Munster and his respondents. Well done to all. A move from keyboard tap-taps to full voice control might come around a bit faster than some here think. 
    radarthekatmuthuk_vanalingamlkruppavon b7
  • Reply 5 of 34
    kevin keekevin kee Posts: 1,000member
    gatorguy said:
    Seems Apple knows precisely where to place its bets.  The voice interaction paradigm will take some time to adopt, requiring human-like conversation capabilities on the part of device/ecosystem, and none are there yet.  For now, smart speakers are being adopted for music listening and a few voice-enabled conveniences.  And because they easily (wirelessly) connect to our gadgets.  So Apple designs a top-tier audio experience with excellent listening capabilities (even in a noisy environment) and gives it sufficient smarts to be ready for the voice-assistant future.  Hmm, bull’s eye again, Apple.  Well done.
    All three have hit the bullseye according to Mr. Munster and his respondents. Well done to all. A move from keyboard tap-taps to full voice control might come around a bit faster than some here think. 
    It will take a while, a few more years I reckon, but definitely not here yet. I am using my Homepod mostly for music and news, and for that, I am glad with what have Apple had focus on.
    edited February 2018 jahbladeradarthekatwatto_cobralolliver
  • Reply 6 of 34
    chasmchasm Posts: 1,402member
    The breakdown was revealing: 59 percent are “satisfied” but did not choose “very” satisfied. I interpret that as “performs as expected” over “is better than expected” by almost a two-to-one margin. I expect the “very” crowd own one of the non-crap speakers (Home Max, Sonos One, or HomePod).
    edited February 2018 radarthekatrandominternetpersonwatto_cobrajony0lolliver
  • Reply 7 of 34
    superaaron99superaaron99 Posts: 2unconfirmed, member
    I don’t want to give the impression that Siri doesn’t have any catching up to do in the field but this short survey should be seen by a lot of the big tech reviewers out there. They get their hands on so much stuff they end up out of touch with the general public. A lot of the noise and criticism around the HomePod was that “it doesn’t answer enough trivia, my calendar, open my garage door, spotify, blah blah” or any numberless of obscure skills regular people don’t use. They want the thing to answer what’s the weather and after all it’s a speaker so it should play music and play it well, it should hear you and hear you well. The HomePod does all this very well. They always understimate Apple’s ability to read their market. 
    Apple got their entry to the market right, and they’ll only get better in the future. 
     


    radarthekatpropodbshankrandominternetpersonwatto_cobralolliver
  • Reply 8 of 34
    MacProMacPro Posts: 18,165member
    gatorguy said:
    Seems Apple knows precisely where to place its bets.  The voice interaction paradigm will take some time to adopt, requiring human-like conversation capabilities on the part of device/ecosystem, and none are there yet.  For now, smart speakers are being adopted for music listening and a few voice-enabled conveniences.  And because they easily (wirelessly) connect to our gadgets.  So Apple designs a top-tier audio experience with excellent listening capabilities (even in a noisy environment) and gives it sufficient smarts to be ready for the voice-assistant future.  Hmm, bull’s eye again, Apple.  Well done.
    All three have hit the bullseye according to Mr. Munster and his respondents. Well done to all. A move from keyboard tap-taps to full voice control might come around a bit faster than some here think. 
    Blackberry, Nokia and Microsoft were all in similar bull's eye positions when iPhone was born I seem to recall.
    propodlkrupprandominternetpersonwatto_cobrajony0lolliver
  • Reply 9 of 34
    SoliSoli Posts: 8,748member
    That person that always said that people only use Echos to buy toilet paper from Amazon should look at this results. Is that even 1 in 20 having bought anything with their device?
    radarthekatmuthuk_vanalingamtmay
  • Reply 10 of 34
    foggyhillfoggyhill Posts: 4,767member
    Soli said:
    That person that always said that people only use Echos to buy toilet paper from Amazon should look at this results. Is that even 1 in 20 having bought anything with their device?
    The answers are misleading in a way, if 50% use something and 50% use if for something else, asking 1 question a week and listening to music all day long will elicit this kind of answer.

    What are the conjoint use? If there are a lot, and they'd have to be, most of those speakers would be used for barely anything seemingly!

    Intensity of use is a better gauge. Intensity of use of one of the biggest distinction between Android users and IOS users, for a long while Android users barely used their browsers. With mid level phones being less horrible, this has had an uptic, yet they still use it a lot less than IOS users.

    It's also pretty surprising that 60% of people with a speaker, a speaker for music... Don't use it as a speaker unless of course the sound is is so crappy you can't use it for that... hmm.. and then it makes perfect sense for the lower tier things.  If you only spent $50 for parlor tricks, then I guess you would think it meets basic expectation for that price (probably would not be if you'd spent $300 for just that).

    Notice there is barely a thing in there for the ubiquitous on tech sites of crappy speaker being used to drive a big ass stereo through home automation, something we hear those things are used all the time on Mac Rumors...

    BTW, this comes from Loup, the same idiotic firm with the clickbait AI is a failure with a search list "study" from two weeks ago. So, everything coming out of them is pretty close to garbage.



    edited February 2018 StrangeDayswatto_cobra
  • Reply 11 of 34
    In other news, a bunch of companies run by stupid idiots were proven with a tiny, iddy-biddy survey, that the HomePod is aimed most accurately at the usage scenarious most people actually want. Unfortunately for the marketing of Amazon and the advertising data collection of Goophabet, only Apple possesses both the high-quality technology and customer-respecting expertice of a product destined for relative superiority. Fake news artists are already preparing a focus on their next click-baiting round of 'entertainment' articles.
    propodlkrupptmayStrangeDayswatto_cobra
  • Reply 12 of 34
    The HomePod strongly reminds me of the original iPod, which was designed with a strong focus on music, served up by an elegant marriage of hardware and software. Look at what has happened to the iPod since day 1: an evolution that has steadily led us to today’s iPhone. I can’t wait to see what the evolutionary path the HomePod would take. 
    edited February 2018 Bombdoecaladanianrandominternetpersonwatto_cobralolliver
  • Reply 13 of 34
    Rayz2016Rayz2016 Posts: 4,564member
    gatorguy said:
    Seems Apple knows precisely where to place its bets.  The voice interaction paradigm will take some time to adopt, requiring human-like conversation capabilities on the part of device/ecosystem, and none are there yet.  For now, smart speakers are being adopted for music listening and a few voice-enabled conveniences.  And because they easily (wirelessly) connect to our gadgets.  So Apple designs a top-tier audio experience with excellent listening capabilities (even in a noisy environment) and gives it sufficient smarts to be ready for the voice-assistant future.  Hmm, bull’s eye again, Apple.  Well done.
    All three have hit the bullseye according to Mr. Munster and his respondents. Well done to all. A move from keyboard tap-taps to full voice control might come around a bit faster than some here think. 
    Mmmm. 

    All three hit the bullseye, but Apple hit the same bullseye while doing much less. 

    Or is it doing much less? The competition is certainly more capable, but apparently, the only people who are interested in these extras are pundits and geeks. 

    Apple has a wealth of data on what their customers want from Siri. They released the HomePod based on this data, not on what folk around here are screaming for. In the future this will change, but they decided that delaying the release for stuff only geeks care about wasn’t smart. 

    The multi-user thing is a head scratcher for me though. 
    randominternetpersontmayStrangeDayswatto_cobralolliver
  • Reply 14 of 34
    gatorguy said:
    Wow, I figured folks were generally happy with their Echos and Homes but I wouldn't have thought it would go as high as 90% considering many of them are those sub-$50 minis. 
    Plenty of people don't much care about sound quality - people listen to music from their phone, PC or little BT speakers. I have two minis - one that streams to a Chromecast-connected hifi and the other, until I decide which speakers to put in the office, is no worse than a BT speaker. So I'm a mini owner that would be included in the 90%.
    tmay
  • Reply 15 of 34
    Gene Munster? LOL
  • Reply 16 of 34
    techrulestechrules Posts: 53unconfirmed, member
    Would love to see satisfaction by smart speaker. We started with an Echo but now have several Google Homes. The Echo require rigid language or basically commands you have to memorize to use. Versus the Google Home for most things you can say it however it pops up in your head. Plus the Google Home integrates a lot better with the iPhone. Me and my siblings gave my mother a Google Home this last Christmas. We then had the grand kids scan her old photos into Google Photos. Me and my siblings on our iPhones share some of our photos in a common area that my mom can just call up with her voice.
  • Reply 17 of 34
    gatorguygatorguy Posts: 20,445member
    Rayz2016 said:
    gatorguy said:
    Seems Apple knows precisely where to place its bets.  The voice interaction paradigm will take some time to adopt, requiring human-like conversation capabilities on the part of device/ecosystem, and none are there yet.  For now, smart speakers are being adopted for music listening and a few voice-enabled conveniences.  And because they easily (wirelessly) connect to our gadgets.  So Apple designs a top-tier audio experience with excellent listening capabilities (even in a noisy environment) and gives it sufficient smarts to be ready for the voice-assistant future.  Hmm, bull’s eye again, Apple.  Well done.
    All three have hit the bullseye according to Mr. Munster and his respondents. Well done to all. A move from keyboard tap-taps to full voice control might come around a bit faster than some here think. 
    Mmmm. 

    All three hit the bullseye, but Apple hit the same bullseye while doing much less.
    Doing less than a $50 Echo Dot? Um, no not really. Or maybe it is. Depends on what you (think) you want it for. We're all different, not alike.

    But that's why there's a dozen different smart-speakers already to choose from across several price points, with varying features from water-resistance to battery-powered portability to video-enabled, front-firing to 360 sound to stereo pairs, multi-room and even multi-user, and you don't need to spend $300+ to get one that sounds good to you.

    You can opt for premium sound PLUS a very capable voice assistant and home control hub and still stay under $200, a very good voice-assistant first with decent sound capabilities and spend half that, $100 or even less, or a great-sounding speaker with proven pedigree you can connect now to your $50 voice assistant and move to another assistant device when a new one tickles your fancy next year or beyond (perhaps the smarter money move),  and all things in-between.

    Over the next few months you'll have another dozen or more to choose from besides those already on the market including B&O, Pioneer, Altec-Lansing, Bose and other respected speaker brands with a long history of great-sounding gear but now with on-board voice assistants for music control and smart-home devices. With Apple testing the waters now it can only help speed the move to voice control and input instead of tippy-taps on your keyboard. When Apple users who've resisted Amazon and Google speakers (some of which sound darn good in their own right) discover just how useful a voice assistant on the counter-top can be despite their stated doubts about it they'll push for far more capabilities than the first-gen HomePod is offering, and that's a great thing for the rest of the industry. Rising tides... 

    The move is towards voice assistance and Apple knows that, and it's not just smart-speakers. While there's already a few voice-assistant earbuds/headphones available look for a big interest in those too by year's end. Several companies have already indicated their intent to integrate "Hey Google" or "Alexa" into their headsets besides those that have already begun doing so and Apple will join the club themselves sooner rather than later with "Hey Siri" on Airpods. Bet on it.
    edited February 2018
  • Reply 18 of 34
    MacProMacPro Posts: 18,165member
    gatorguy said:
    Wow, I figured folks were generally happy with their Echos and Homes but I wouldn't have thought it would go as high as 90% considering many of them are those sub-$50 minis. 
    Plenty of people don't much care about sound quality - people listen to music from their phone, PC or little BT speakers. I have two minis - one that streams to a Chromecast-connected hifi and the other, until I decide which speakers to put in the office, is no worse than a BT speaker. So I'm a mini owner that would be included in the 90%.
    It almost seems these things come around in waves so to speak, no pun intended.  Back in the 60's and early 70's most of us had small transistor radios and listed to A.M. stations on tiny speakers that were dreadful to put it mildly but we loved the portability.  Then the HiFi boom started with reasonably low priced modular systems from various manufacturers being sold through the new concept of large discount stores such as Comet in the UK and no doubt the same in the USA.  Everyone and his dog gradually moved up to reasonable quality gear, KEF Speakers come to mind.  The glossy HiFi magazines pushed even higher end equipment and those that could afford (or those that couldn't come to think of it) moved up to ever better and more expensive amplifiers, turntables, diamond cartridges and speakers.  Then one day when now computers proliferate comes along the .mp3 format and we get Napster and eventually iPods and we are all listening to earbuds or are using tiny speakers attached to iPods. Years roll by and we have very little new in audio quality but we have crappy audio systems that listen to us all the time for marketing information and can answer trivia questions. Then Apple release a HomePod that has the sound quality of far more expensive system with modest AI assistance geared to audio needs but most people are still  in the poor quality and tiny speaker mode at present and perfectly satisfied as long as it can talk to them all day.  It will be interesting to see if this spurs a new move toward expectations of far better sound quality and I also wonder if Apple have larger speakers with integrated amplifiers and beam-forming technology in the pipeline to satisfy that need if it comes. The one thing that seems to come out of looking back over 50 years of audio systems is the quality of music the masses accept is more like fashion that changes than qualitative analysis.
    randominternetpersonwatto_cobra
  • Reply 19 of 34
    MacProMacPro Posts: 18,165member

    gatorguy said:
    The move is towards voice assistance and Apple knows that. 
    Or ... the move could be towards higher quality audio.  I'm sure all the Apple copycats are hard at work sawing HomePods in half in their R&D areas.

    Quotes like that are awesome though thanks, I filed it away to look at in ten years.  I love reading the ones from the iPhone's early days too, not to mention Apple Watch.


    tmaywatto_cobra
  • Reply 20 of 34
    robbyxrobbyx Posts: 478member
    If and when voice controlled hardware takes over, it will represent a paradigm shift from current UI applications dominated by touchscreens. 

    Apple is well on its way to lead such a revolution with HomePod. The smart speaker boasts an array of beamforming microphones and adaptive audio technology to better detect and respond to user voice commands, while onboard components offer access to Apple's various connected platforms like iCloud, Apple Music and HomeKit. As AppleInsider noted in its review, all that is missing is a smarter Siri.

    Thats all?  Should be easy to make Siri smarter!  I mean, look at how much she’s advanced compared to other voice assistants since she was released...

    Apple isn’t close to leading anything when it comes to voice despite what puff pieces like this one say. They are woefully behind. Amazon, Google and others are far more likely to upgrade their hardware to match or exceed HomePod than Apple is to suddenly make Siri smarter.

    Voice UI is definitely the future, but Apple has a long way to go. The situation isn’t as dire as when Microsoft largely ignored mobile and completely missed the leap to smartphones and touch screens, but it’s similar. Microsoft had a mobile offering, but it was weak and uninspired and then along came the iPhone and blew everything out of the water. Unless Apple can radically and rapidly improve Siri, Google and/or Amazon will likely own the voice space, not Apple.

    HomePod makes me believe that Apple is capable of engineering a great little speaker, and that is all. Nothing about Siri on HomePod suggests that Apple is anywhere close to having a market leading voice assistant.  Apple had a giant head start in the voice assistant space and completely squandered its lead. 
    Latko
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