Voice assistant technology comes of age

Smart speakers continue to capture the hearts and wallets of consumers, driving demand for wireless speakers and establishing a wider acceptance of voice assistants.

According to Jack Wetherill, Principal Analyst: Home Electronics, Futuresource Consulting, by the end of 2019, 21 million smart speakers were in use in Western European homes, on track to exceed 32 million by the end of this year according to Futuresource forecasts.

Although a broad range of brands compete for attention, Google and Amazon branded speakers still account for almost 80% of the smart speaker market in Europe. This is mainly due to product subsidy strategies from the market leaders, which are geared towards getting the products in homes and learning about consumer activities, lifestyle choices and shopping habits. In Q1 2020, Google and Amazon offerings were retailing at an ASP of €52, compared with €213 from the likes of Apple, JBL, Sonos and Sony.

Recent consumer research carried out by Futuresource reveals that 70% of smart speaker owners mainly use their devices to listen to music, and 58% say they would like better sound quality. It is unclear whether this will translate into an uptick in spend, but all eyes will be on IFA to see what innovations will be unveiled this year.