There are numerous surveys about smart speakers. However, new data from Kantar Worldpanel is unique in comparing attitudes and behaviors of Google Home and Amazon Alexa owners.
The big takeaways. There are two big takeaways from the survey, conducted in late 2018. According to the findings, Google Home owners do more with their smart speakers and have greater satisfaction (“far higher NPS scores”) than owners of Amazon Echo/Alexa devices.
Broader use cases for Google Home. The most common use case for smart speakers is streaming music, followed by asking about weather. Beyond this, Google Home owners are using their devices for a broader range of functions than Amazon Alexa users (see chart below). In particular, owners of Google Home are more likely to make calls, control smart home devices, check business hours and order food or groceries.
Demographically, Alexa owners skew slightly more female (54 percent) and older than Google Home users, who skew more male (60 percent) and younger.
Computer use for Home users declines. Another significant finding is that 16 percent of Google Home owners are using their laptop or desktop computers less after buying a smart speaker. This is undoubtedly tied into the broader array of use cases for Google Home; it becomes a replacement device in some instances.
The study also found that Google Home owners are more likely to own and integrate more smart devices (e.g., thermostat, security, lighting) than Alexa owners. Unfortunately, the study did not isolate the type of device being used; so we don’t know if smart displays are more likely to drive some of the observed behaviors (e.g., commerce).
Why you should care. There are more than 100 million smart speaker devices in U.S. homes. Currently Alexa has a dominant market share, although the numbers vary by survey and analyst estimate. Though Alexa is the stronger brand, these NPS figures suggest that Google Home will get better word of mouth and could erode Alexa’s lead over time.
The broader usage by Google Home owners suggests that we may be starting to see some of the anticipated behaviors that will have business and marketing implications, such as local search and shopping, begin to materialize — or early indications that they will materialize over time.