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Study: 25% of Americans Have a Smart Speaker in the Home


Smart Speakers
Smart Speakers

According to findings from Pew Research Center, 25% of Americans have a smart speaker at home. Ownership of these devices, such as Amazon Echo or Google Home, have gained popularity over the last several years especially by age and annual household income. Adults younger than 50 are more likely than those 50 and older to own a smart speaker (29% vs. 19%). Americans living in households earning $75,000 or more a year (34%) say they have a smart speaker, but that share drops to 15% among those whose annual family income falls below $30,000.

Some 54% of smart speaker owners (which amounts to 13% of all U.S. adults) say they are very or somewhat concerned about the amount of personal data their speakers collect. Though smart speaker ownership varies, privacy concerns among those who have these devices are mostly similar across demographic groups says the study.

Americans who own smart speaker devices have mixed views on whether it is important to personalize their preferences. About one-in-five speaker owners (18%) say it is very important that their speaker take into account their interests and preferences when responding to questions or commands, and another 38% say it is somewhat important. About four-in-ten Americans who own a smart speaker (43%) say it is not too or not at all important to them that their device is personalized in this way.

A majority of smart speaker owners also are not seeking more personalization. Different groups of respondents were asked by Pew Research Center about their desires for the performance of their speakers in the future. In one group, 58% of smart speaker owners say they would not like their speaker to do a better job of taking their interests and preferences into account in the future, compared with 42% who would like their speakers to do a better job taking their interests and preferences into account.

The study also found that Americans are wary of data from smart speakers being used in criminal investigations. In a recent Center report, 49% of Americans said it is unacceptable for the makers of smart speakers to share audio recordings of their customers with law enforcement in order to help with criminal investigations. Just 25% said it is acceptable.

More than half (54%) of smart speaker owners report that they ever say "please" when speaking to their device, including about one-in-five (19%) who say they do this frequently. And while the shares of Americans who say this tend to be similar across many groups, there are some notable differences by gender. Women are more likely than men to say they at least occasionally say "please" to their smart speaker (62% vs. 45%).

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