NPD: Virtual Assistants Driving Smart Home Sales

Oct. 6, 2017
According to the NPD Group, 15% of U.S. Internet households currently own a smart home device, up from 10% in April 2016. Year to date ...

According to the NPD Group, 15% of U.S. Internet households currently own a smart home device, up from 10% in April 2016. Year to date, U.S. dollar sales of home automation products have increased 43%, with strong growth across all device types. While security and monitoring continues to hold the largest share of dollar sales in the category, video doorbells (+123%) and smart lighting (+83%) are also quickly growing.

"The growth we are seeing in the number of owner homes is an indication that a broader field of available products, wider distribution and greater awareness are actually adding users," said Ben Arnold, executive director, industry analyst, for the NPD Group. "Voice-enabled speakers have also played a key role in catalyzing interest in the smart home."

NPD says ownership of voice-activated wireless speakers has more than tripled in a year's time, now totaling 10% of U.S. Internet households. Of Amazon Echo and Google Home owners, 48% and 57%, respectively, reported buying their first home automation product after owning a voice-enabled speaker. Some 36% of existing smart home device owners also own a voice-activated speaker, and 65% of smart home device owners are interested in using voice commands to control other devices in the home.

Younger consumers, aged 18-34, are the most likely to own a voice-activated wireless speaker, as well as a home automation device; but noticeable growth is also occurring in other age groups. Some 11% of consumers aged 35-54 report owning a voice-enabled speaker, up from 7% the prior year, while consumers 55+ grew to 6% from 1%. Similarly, 16% of consumers aged 35-54 report owning a home automation device, up from 11% the prior year, while consumers 55+ grew to 8% from 7%.

"The voice-enabled speaker market is expanding quickly, with a number of high-profile products expected to hit shelves in Q4 2017, and into 2018. As sales of these devices continue to grow, and more voice-enabled applications are developed, the use case for intelligent voice speakers, particularly as it relates to home automation devices, will continue to expand," said Arnold.