The number of people who have a smart speaker from Amazon or Google in their home has increased by 128% since January 2017 according to a report by NPR and Edison Research. The speakers are not gathering dust on shelves, either. Most of the people sampled (51%) say they use their smart speakers more now than when they first got them, and many say time spent interacting with the Assistant or Alexa is taken from other technologies such as smartphones and televisions.
NPR and Edison Research leave much to be desired in their description of the methodology they used to gather the data they report. They conducted an 806-person online survey between 11/17/2017 and 11/22/2017, and a 1010-person telephone survey between 12/26/2017 and 12/30/2017. All respondents were 18 years of age or older and all owned a smart speaker from Amazon or Google. Without further information about the sampling methodology, it should be assumed that the data are derived from non-random samples which means we have no good reason to think the results either accurately or inaccurately reflect the experience of Americans who own smart speakers.
The researchers estimate that around 39 million Americans (16% of the population) own smart speakers. Eleven percent of their respondents own an Echo and 4% own a Home. They did not report how many, if any, own both.
The respondents enjoy listening to music with their smart speakers. Seventy-one percent say they listen to more audio since getting a smart speaker, 39% say the time spent with the speaker is taken away from traditional radio, and 60% say playing music is what they do with the speaker when spending time with family and friends. Listening to music with others was a bit more than double the combination of the next two shared activities which were asking a general question (30%) and getting the weather (28%). Respondents also reported taking time away from smartphones (34%) and television (30%) when using their smart speakers.