You might have already spotted this, but ICYMI: Edison Research, in partnership with NPR, has released the 2019 Smart Audio Report. You can download the whole thing here. Although the research doesn’t specifically examine the consumption of podcasts on these devices and it’s focused solely on the US, it’s instructive nonetheless.
Here are five key takeaways, in my mind:
21 percent of Americans aged over 18 own a smart speaker
The number of smart speakers in US households grew 78 percent between December 2017 and December 2018
Word of mouth from family and friends is the biggest driver of users towards new skills
Playing music is by far the biggest use for smart speakers (77 percent of respondents had done it in the last week) with “get the news” at 42 percent.
They’re big with kids: 75 percent of smart speaker-owning households with children use the device daily.
Related: This piece by journalist Rebecca Heilweil neatly outlines the challenges around trust, curation and provenance when it comes to delivering news via audio on a smart speaker or voice assistant. Easy voice modifications make them prime targets for deep fakes, and the plethora of available flash briefings means that a user can’t always be sure if they’re listening to news delivered to the speaker by a named outlet, or news curated by a third party that happens to draw on stories originating at that outlet.