November 20, 2018 10 months 4 weeks ago

Smart speakers taking off in Canada

TORONTO – Expect a lot of Christmas wrapping to be torn from boxes containing smart home speakers this year, says Toronto’s Solutions Research Group.

The company benchmarked the devices for the first time this year in its ongoing Digital Life Canada research series and found that 7% of online Canadian homes already have one (almost a million homes) “but based on a strong interest levels and price points leading up to Christmas, SRG expects this number will more than double by early 2019,” says the company.

Despite the uptick, penetration of the units in Canada lag the U.S., where it’s estimated the devices are already in 20% of homes.

Smart speakers need to be watched closely and experimented with by traditional TV and radio broadcasters as these intuitive devices can be made to play music, talk weather, news and traffic, spell out recipes while you cook (all things traditional media companies have been doing through less-smart devices…) while also controlling a home’s lights, alarms, and other smart devices.

Google Home is the most penetrated device with 5% of DLC respondents reporting they already have one, followed by the Amazon Echo at 3% and Apple Home Pod at 1%. Despite the hype, about 50% of Canadians say they are “not at all interested” in one of those three smart speakers. On the other hand, between 38% and 40% of survey respondents say they’re very or somewhat interested in owning one of the three devices.

Of those who own a smart speaker, 39% are under 30, 42% are aged 30-49 and 19% are 50-plus. When it comes to the Amazon Echo devices, 41% of owners report using it at least once or multiple times a day while 46% of Google Home owners report the same thing.

While survey respondents reported using the devices for a myriad of tasks and topics, not everything is perfect, however. “Alexa is often a nuisance since we watch a lot of movies and TV in the same room and it initiates conversations with us mistakenly,” said one survey respondent.

The survey was of 1,000 Canadians and conducted in August 2018.

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