Smart speakers continue to be the most popular home audio product, despite ownership falling by three percentage points in 2023. That’s according to a new consumer research study by Futuresource Consulting, which analyses the behaviour patterns of home audio consumers across the USA, UK, Germany, Japan and China.
The slight decline witnessed in smart speakers is reflective of a wider drop in the purchase and ownership of all audio types, attributed to the cost-of-living crisis and that most consumers upgraded during the pandemic.
“Despite a slight decline across home audio devices, the popularity of smart speakers remains steadfast,” says Anuja Chandrakumar, Lead Analyst, Futuresource Consulting. “Out of all form factors, our study found that consumers are more likely to own smart speakers over any other device, with ownership standing at 43%.
“What’s interesting is that although most markets saw a slight decline in smart speakers, the USA actually saw an ownership increase of three percentage points year-on-year.”
The Smart Display category also dipped by three percentage points to land at 20% for 2023.
“Privacy concerns are continuing to influence consumers’ willingness to purchase smart devices,” says Chandrakumar. “10% of our survey participants categorically stated they will not buy smart speakers or smart displays due to privacy concerns, and a further 16% were not inclined to purchase smart devices for the same reason. It’s continuing to play a significant role in the market.”
The survey found that the Chinese market is the most flexible in this regard, with 75% having no concerns or thinking that the benefits outweigh the concerns.
Price and audio quality remain the top considerations for consumers when purchasing an audio product. However, Futuresource Consulting’s study has found interoperability and compatibility to be increasingly sought-after features – as well as sustainability.
“It’s clear that consumers want a smoother user experience,” says Chandrakumar, “But they’re also seeking more sustainable devices. Optimal energy consumption and efficiency were high on the priority list for respondents, as well as the capacity for a device to be upgraded and repaired. Respectively, 50% and 60% of users agreed with those two statements, which demonstrates a clear inclination toward eco-friendly products.”
Since the high street reopened, purchasing audio devices in-store remains popular. “32% of our respondents stated they usually buy their audio equipment in retail stores, providing a clear opportunity for brands to demo their devices to consumers. However, 39% still purchase their audio products online,” says Chandrakumar.
The cost of living is one of the largest contributors to the declines in ownership levels, with 40% of respondents having either reduced or stopped purchasing any new audio devices. However, 30% of respondents to Futuresource Consulting’s survey stated they are still spending the same amount as before the crisis.
“Although home audio is not immune to the impacts of inflation, it’s great to see a good chunk of consumers keeping their spend consistent, with 15% even spending more across 2023. Brands can find ample opportunity in these consumers.”
For more information on Futuresource’s Audio Tech Lifestyles report into Home Audio Speakers, please contact firstname.lastname@example.org.
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