WASHINGTON, DC: New research suggests that one in six US adults now own a smart speaker in the style of Google’s Home or Amazon’s Echo, but, as Apple fans await the launch of the HomePod, there are questions about how many devices the market can support.

A survey of just under 2,000 individuals by NPR and Edison Research claims that smart speaker adoption is now outpacing tablet and smartphone adoption. The Smart Audio Report also suggests that ownership of smart speakers is up 128% from this time last year.

Amazon’s Alexa-enabled Echo device is the market leader with a reported 11% share of the market. Google’s Home trails with just 4% of the market. However, together, the report says, 16% of Americans – roughly 39 million people – own a smart speaker.This year’s holiday sales have been particularly important for smart speaker adoption. According to the study, 7% of respondents reported acquiring a smart speaker between Black Friday and New Year’s Eve.

For both Amazon and Google, the race to drive adoption has led to both pursuing incredibly aggressive pricing, with both reaching $29 for a mini unit for a time. Reuters / Business Insider reported at the beginning of this month that both companies most likely lost a few dollars per unit in their bids to envelop the market.

Meanwhile, Apple, which was unable to ship its more expensive ($349) HomePod speaker in 2017, appears to be pursuing a different strategy, which will become apparent at launch. 

One of the most illuminating segments of the study explored what respondents were replacing with smart speaker use. The most common response was a traditional radio (39%), while just over a third (34%) were replacing smartphone use. In addition, 30% said their speakers were replacing time spent with TV.

The research further showed that usage tends to grow the longer one has the device: 51% of respondents said they use their smart speaker more often than in the first month they had it.

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Sourced from NPR/Edison Research, Reuters / Business Insider; additional content by WARC staff