The Smart Speaker Audience at a Glance 

What does the audience for smart speaker audio look like in 2022 so far? A recent study by NPR on Smart Audio surveyed 1190 smart speaker owners, 560 users of voice-operated assistants on non-smart speaker devices and 584 users of non-voice enabled devices. The ways in which smart audio has been interacted with between 2017-2022 was tracked. 

Demographic Insights

Those aged between 45-54 years of age were more likely to listen to audio on smart speakers (28% of the audio audience of listeners), followed by those aged 65+ (21% of the total audio audience), and then those aged 35-44 (18% of the audio audience). 

Smart Speaker owners in 2022 were more likely to listen to audio on a smartphone or tablet (34%), followed by smart speakers (20%), AM/FM Radio (19%), and then via computer or laptop (11%).

What Audio Content Do Smart Speaker Owners Listen to?

In 2022, 39% of smart speaker owners were found to listen to podcasts on their smart speaker in a typical week, and this has increased by 22% since 2017. 66% of respondents listen to the news via smart speakers.

40% of smart speaker owners were not bothered at all when smart speakers offered more information than was requested, 39% were not bothered when their device recommended a smart speaker feature without prior prompting and 27% were not bothered at all when their device made an unprompted purchase suggestion.

Of the total US online population aged 18+, most used voice assistants on their smartphones (56%), followed by smart speakers (35%), smart TVs (34%), then cars (29%) with 24% or less of the audience using voice assistants on computers, tablets and on household appliances.

Why Do People Purchase and Interact with Audio on Smart Speakers?

Improvements to smart speaker technology, a wider range of media to consumer and increased accessibility of smart audio devices have driven more sales of smart speakers since 2017. 62% of Americans aged 18 and over use voice-assisted devices, while 100 million people – 35% of Americans aged 18 and over – own at least one smart speaker in 2022, compared to 82 million people or 32% of the same demographic in 2021. 

In 2022, 53% of people reported wanting a smart speaker to help control a smart home device, 51% wanted to replace an old radio, 49% wanted to entertain children, 63% to discover new songs, and 47% specifically wanted to listen to podcasts with these smart speakers.

The study also found there was a 150% increase from 2017 – 2022 in terms of wanting to help an elderly person (30% in 2022), 24% saying they wanted these devices to help them with a disability. That’s an incredible increase of 50% relative to 2017, and shows how valuable an asset smart speakers can be for those with additional needs. The average number of different types of tasks requested on smart speakers in a typical week was 7.5 in 2017, which increased to 12.4% in 2022, whereas for voice-enabled devices, this was 8.8 in 2020 and 10.7 in 2021.

Want to find out more? Read the full report here.