Voice-Controlled Speakers Enable Users to Speak Their Way to a Better Quality of Life

HARMAN International, a wholly-owned subsidiary of Samsung focused on connected technologies for automotive, consumer and enterprise markets has commissioned an in-depth consumer research study1 on the use of Voice-Controlled speakers (VC speakers) among owners and intended purchasors2 of such devices. The results of the study show far-reaching benefits for VC speaker users and validate HARMAN’s conviction that voice is the way of the future.

Among the latest technological breakthroughs with enormous potential to improve our everyday experiences is voice-enabled technology. Voice-Controlled speakers are harnessing the power of voice, enabling users to command their environment, find answers to their questions, dictate correspondence, dial contacts, select and stream music and audio, and save that most precious and fleeting of resources: time.

HARMAN is committed to delivering world-class voice-enabled smart IoT and audio solutions for the home, the car, at the office, or on the go. Well aware of the potential that voice-enabled technology has to transform people’s everyday experiences; HARMAN is pleased to share the findings of its most recent Voice-Controlled speaker consumer survey. As these findings illustrate, VC speakers are facilitating the modern lifestyle, improving productivity, enhancing well-being, connecting people, and creating a higher quality of life for users of all ages.

Connecting hearts and minds

Voice-Controlled speakers save time: 1 in 5 owners in the US reports saving more than an hour a day and sometimes more from using their VC speaker to help with daily tasks, and the primary perceived benefit among Germans with intention to buy is time efficiency. Over half of owners in the US and one fifth of users in the UK are spending their reclaimed time to connect and interact with family and friends. This benefit is especially pronounced in households with children, where 73% of parents feel that their quality of life has improved through VC speaker ownership and are very likely to agree that the time saved from using a Voice-Controlled speaker gives them more opportunities to focus on their personal life and spend quality time with loved ones.

Children are significant users of VC speakers for learning as well as entertainment, but these devices can also improve the lives of elderly people who may be living in isolation. Indeed, 30% of owners report that their VC speaker helps them feel less lonely.

Hitting the right note

Voice-Controlled speakers enable users to enjoy music with ease. Whether to relax, to create a desired ambiance, or to discover new sounds, music and audio streaming is the number one use case and is by far the leading benefit owners in the US and the UK feel they could not live without. Likewise, intenders in France and Germany plan to use their VC speaker for music above all else. When it comes to choosing which VC speaker to buy, quality is king: intenders cite quality as the most influential purchase criterion as well as the primary reason to consider a particular speaker brand.

Giving new meaning to voice control

Voice-Controlled speakers give users a sense of control. Around a quarter of owners in the US and the UK report that using a VC speaker makes them feel more in control of their everyday living environment, while one third of 36-45 years olds say they have benefited in this manner. Among all prospective buyers interviewed, 59% expect voice-enabled technology to put them in control of tasks and improve their productivity. The majority of owners (59%) as well as intenders (70%) feel that VC speakers can support independent living by giving users more control and making them less reliant on others.

Getting more out of life

Voice-Controlled speakers offer intellectual stimulation and boost personal fulfillment. Over 25% of owners say their VC speaker helps them feel more mentally stimulated and nearly 25% credit their device with helping them find greater motivation to exercise. Owners in the US report that attaining increased knowledge is their single greatest gain from using a VC speaker, while intenders in France and the US have the greatest perception that voice-enabled technology will help increase their productivity and improve their overall lifestyle and well-being. Those in Germany and the UK are also very positive in this regard, but their overall ratings are typically a little lower. Over 70% of owners in the US and around 60% of owners in the UK confirm that their speakers bring an element of fun, leisure, and entertainment to their everyday lives. Interestingly, this benefit exceeds expectations as only 50% of intenders believe fun, leisure, and entertainment to be a benefit of ownership.

The most indispensable technology you never knew you needed

Voice-Controlled speakers are no mere novelty. Around 60% of owners in the US consider their speaker to be a necessity (80% among the 26-45 yo segment), while 50% of intenders in the US and 30% of intenders in France and the UK believe their future VC speaker will become a necessity. At 15%, German intenders are more reserved in this respect. Close to 80% of owners in the US and nearly 50% in the UK feel that using a VC speaker has given them a better quality of life at home, as well as a new home experience that they did not know they wanted or needed until owning the device. Not only do owners clearly love their VC speaker, with 70% expecting their use to increase over the next 12 months, but they want more: 40% of owners have purchased additional devices.

FutureSource Consulting, a leading independent research and analyst firm that conducted the research on behalf of HARMAN, said the results of the survey are reflected in the market performance of these devices. The company is predicting global sales of 37 million VC speakers in 2018, with the US and the UK leading the way. VC speaker penetration will reach 43% in the US by the end of the year. According to Jack Wetherill, Principal Analyst for Sound and Vision, “This exceptional level of consumer interest in a consumer electronics device has not been witnessed for many years.” Music has clearly emerged as a major use for the device; however, there is an ever-widening range of applications fueling more frequent usage.

Voice-enabled personal assistant technology will not just be the domain of smart speakers as time goes by; FutureSource expects this capability to be extended to a wider range of products and devices as voice interface becomes ubiquitous.