Insider Intelligence delivers leading-edge research to clients in a variety of forms, including full-length reports and data visualizations to equip you with actionable takeaways for better business decisions.
In-depth analysis, benchmarks and shorter spotlights on digital trends.
Learn More
Interactive projections with 10k+ metrics on market trends, & consumer behavior.
Learn More
Proprietary data and over 3,000 third-party sources about the most important topics.
Learn More
Industry KPIs
Industry benchmarks for the most important KPIs in digital marketing, advertising, retail and ecommerce.
Learn More
Client-only email newsletters with analysis and takeaways from the daily news.
Learn More
Analyst Access Program
Exclusive time with the thought leaders who craft our research.
Learn More

About Insider Intelligence

Our goal at Insider Intelligence is to unlock digital opportunities for our clients with the world’s most trusted forecasts, analysis, and benchmarks. Spanning five core coverage areas and dozens of industries, our research on digital transformation is exhaustive.
Our Story
Learn more about our mission and how Insider Intelligence came to be.
Learn More
Rigorous proprietary data vetting strips biases and produces superior insights.
Learn More
Our People
Take a look into our corporate culture and view our open roles.
Join the Team
Contact Us
Speak to a member of our team to learn more about Insider Intelligence.
Contact Us
See our latest press releases, news articles or download our press kit.
Learn More
Advertising & Sponsorship Opportunities
Reach an engaged audience of decision-makers.
Learn More
Browse our upcoming and past events, recent podcasts, and other featured resources.
Learn More
Tune in to eMarketer's daily, weekly, and monthly podcasts.
Learn More

Purchases Via Smart Speakers Are Not Taking Off

eMarketer lowers US forecast amid security concerns and competition from smartphones

While some US consumers are warming to the idea of making voice-based purchases via smart speakers, the number of those doing so is smaller than initially estimated. In our latest forecast on smart speaker users, we lowered our outlook for the number of smart speaker buyers (people making a purchase via a smart speaker) as well as the number of smart speaker users (people who use smart speakers for any purpose).

By the end of 2020, we expect that 21.6 million people will have made a purchase using a smart speaker. This is lower than our Q2 2019 forecast, in which we expected the number to reach 23.6 million. Still, the activity is growing and will pass a milestone this year when 10.8% of all digital buyers in the US will make a purchase using a smart speaker.

A key reason for the revised forecast is that device-makers haven’t fully gained users’ trust. Potential buyers are still concerned about it comes to secure payments and privacy. The absence of screens on many smart speaker models is an added aspect of this problem—people often want to see products before a purchase. As a result, some voice buyers are instead opting to make purchases with other voice-controlled devices that have screens, such as smartphones and tablets.

“There’s a good deal of friction in the voice-based buying process because people can’t see what they’ll actually be purchasing unless they have a screen on their smart speaker,” eMarketer principal analyst Victoria Petrock said. “So, most of the purchases made today are reorders and things that don’t need to be inspected.”

The downward revision in the number of smart speaker buyers is also due in part to readjusted estimates for the types of activities users conduct on the devices. In our Q2 2019 forecast, we expected 27.9% of smart speaker users to make purchases with their device in 2020. We have now lowered this percentage to 26.0%.

In contrast, we made an upward revision to the percentage of smart speaker users listening to audio (81.1%) and making inquiries (77.8%). This shows that users are going back to the basics, using their devices for simple and straightforward tasks. (Please note that our “inquiries” number does not include inquiries about the weather, news or traffic.)

“Though there are thousands of smart speaker apps that do everything from let you order takeout to find recipes or play games, many consumers don’t realize that they need to take extra and more specific steps to utilize all capabilities,” Petrock said. “Instead, they stick with direct commands to play music, ask about the weather or ask questions, because those are basic to the device.”

Overall, smart speaker usage is not performing as expected. In our Q2 2019 forecast, we predicted the number of US smart speaker users to reach 84.5 million. We have now revised our 2020 estimate down to 83.1 million—representing one-quarter of the population.