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Nielsen survey finds smart speaker owners mostly listen to music on devices

Nielsen has debuted a new report focused on emerging technologies, and the first installment turned its eye toward the smart speaker trend. The new quarterly MediaTech Trender Survey includes 2,000 U.S. consumers aged 13 and up. Smart speakers are making quick work at converting people into repeat customers; in the U.S. homes that have a smart speaker, four in 10 have more than one such device. The adoption is still happening at a brisk rate, with 62% of smart speaker owners first using the device within the last six months. Nearly half (45%) said they plan to purchase more smart speaker products for their homes.

Nielsen also inquired about uses for smart speakers. Listening to music topped the chart with 90% of users reporting the activity in a typical week. Other leading activities are searching for real-time information like weather or traffic (81%) and searching for factual information such as trivia or history (75%). About two-thirds (68%) said they use their smart speaker to listen to news.

Voice-activated wireless speakers have the potential to be hubs for other smart home tech, but the most common device that owners connected their smart speakers to was mobile phones (32%). Televisions took 23% and stereo systems or other speakers had 18%.

Finally, the Nielsen survey examined when and how long smart speaker owners used the devices. Smart speakers were almost uniformly more regularly used on weekends than weekdays. For both, the heaviest usage happened in the late evening between 7 pm and 11:59 pm, with an average of 16.8 minutes on weekdays and 17.2 minutes on weekends. Early evening had 15.3 minutes on average for weekdays and 15.5 minutes for weekends, followed by 11.5 minutes on weekday afternoons and 14.5 minutes on weekend afternoons.

Anna Washenko

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