Between Google’s Nest line, Amazon’s Echo, Facebook’s Portal, and several others, the smart speaker and smart display marketplace has become quite crowded. From a market research standpoint, however, the uptick in consumer adoption has made it easier to paint a clear picture of the top use cases for these devices.
With their newest products, Amazon, Apple and Google have all enhanced their offerings by providing support for better sound quality, making the devices better for listening to music. Interpret’s research, however, shows that media control, including enjoying music services, is only the sixth most popular use for these devices. Ahead of music are weather reports, web searching, news, managing to-do lists and reminders, and getting help with definitions and spelling.
The top six use cases can be simplified as news, references, activity management, and controls. It’s the latter that’s becoming a focal point for savvy smart home customers, according to Interpret’s Smart Home Matrix®, which classifies smart home product owners into segments based on the number of devices owned and if those devices are integrated with other devices. Among owners of smart devices that show a desire to integrate devices (Connectors and Conductors), their number one smart speaker use case is to control other smart home devices. For “Collectors,” owners of more than three smart home products who are not particularly interested in connecting devices, their second most frequent use for smart speakers is controlling smart home devices. For “Converts,” or those that own only one to three non-connected smart home devices, controlling other smart home devices is not in their list of top ten use cases.
“Smart speaker makers that ignore a top use case of their customers may find themselves falling behind the pack,” said Stuart Sikes, Senior Vice President at Interpret. “Apple, for example, is currently offering very limited support for third-party devices on its HomePod and HomePod mini smart speakers, causing smart homeowners to overlook the HomePod.”