Smart speakers continue to hold the household advantage, with a new Futuresource consumer survey showing they are the most commonly owned home audio product. The Audio Tech Lifestyles research study, conducted across the USA, UK, Germany, Japan and China in June 2022, also reveals that smart speaker ownership has grown by six percentage points since last year’s survey.
“Unsurprisingly, listening to music continues to be the top consumer use case for smart speakers,” says Guy Hammett, Senior Market Analyst, Futuresource Consulting. “Yet its share has been declining progressively over the past three years. We’re now seeing a growing number of people who are using their speakers for more than just music. Requests for weather updates, using timers, setting alarms and scheduling reminders are all more common when compared to previous years.”
The study shows that, overall, consumers are satisfied with their smart speakers, with products from tech companies ranking the highest in terms of satisfaction levels. However, as usage expands, the top frustration was that devices don’t always interpret requests properly.
There are also consumer concerns around device privacy, although these worries are progressively decreasing across most markets. The exception was Japan, where privacy concerns are increasing, which is likely due to this market being at a relatively early stage of smart speaker adoption.
Bluetooth speakers also remain popular with consumers, with nearly one in every three respondents confirming they owned one. More than 40% of owners use their devices either mostly or always at home. However, there is a generational divergence, with younger generations over-indexed on outdoor usage.
“The primary frustration consumers are finding with Bluetooth speakers relates to battery life,” says Hammett. “This has been a consistently important topic across all waves of our Audio Tech Lifestyles study, and it is not going away. This year, more than 70% of Bluetooth speaker owners have had their devices run out of battery, although a large proportion of these people told us they had forgotten to charge the device before using it.”
Focusing on TV and movie audio, the study shows that most consumers still listen directly on their devices, using the built-in speakers. Despite this majority, soundbars are growing in popularity, with over 40% of soundbar owners purchasing their soundbar to improve the sound of their TV.
A significant segment also bought their soundbar to use beyond movie and TV viewing, with music listening mentioned as an increasingly important role for soundbars.
Sustainability continues to rise up the agenda, becoming an important factor in the purchasing decision of audio products. Over 60% of respondents said they would be interested in buying products that can be easily upgraded or repaired. More than half are also interested in trading in and recycling their current device.
Audio Products still on the Shopping List, despite Financial Uncertainty
“As we face a new and uncertain future, with the cost of living crisis looming large, respondents still said they were willing to buy audio products,” says Hammett. “However, when we dug a little deeper, many were unsure of how much they will be able to spend in 2022.”
The new Audio Tech Lifestyles report from Futuresource Consulting includes detailed consumer survey responses about ownership and usage of wireless speakers, smart speakers, soundbars, Hi-Fi systems and separates, and headphones across the USA, UK, Germany, Japan and China, conducted with more than 10,000 consumers. For further information or to make a purchase, please contact firstname.lastname@example.org
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