When Amazon announced the Amazon Echo in 2014, many people laughed at the idea of voluntarily letting the world’s largest online retailer put a “listening device” in your home. And yet, the Echo, and Amazon’s voice assistant Alexa with it, became a major success, pioneering the smart speaker market in the United States and internationally.
By early 2019, Amazon had shipped more than 100 million Echo devices, making it the leader in the highly contested smart speaker market. According to the latest edition of NPR and Edison Research’s “Smart Audio Report” more than 60 million Americans aged 18+ owned at least one smart speaker by the end of 2019, illustrating that initial privacy concerns were quickly cast aside by curiosity and the futuristic allure of having a voice assistant at home.
Interestingly, many smart speaker owners don't stop at one device. According to NPR and Edison Research, smart speaker households in the U.S. now own 2.6 smart speakers on average, explaining why the number of speakers in U.S. households is much larger at 157 million than the number of smart speaker owners.