Although just 6% of consumers use a smart speaker to control connected devices in their homes, according to a report by IHS Markit, analysts believe that market is going to continue to grow.
“Controlling smart home devices by voice currently represents only a small fraction of total smart-speaker interactions,” Blake Kozak, principal analyst for the smart home market at IHS Markit, said in a statement. “However, this category will continue to trend upward as more video-streaming devices come to rely on voice control, as security alarm systems adopt voice control to arm and disarm, and as more builders embed smart devices throughout new homes.”
The report found homeowners who have a smart speaker use them for things like asking questions or checking the weather, rather than controlling things around the house.
Kozak noted that smartphones are the primary way consumers interact with smart home tech like thermostats and connected appliances, but he believes that “smart speakers will ultimately be the primary disruptor for smart home deployments, and the means by which consumers interact with all other devices.”
There are over 900 smart home device makers, IHS Markit found, with about 4,100 options for homeowners to choose from. Amazon leads the market, with 40% of consumers saying they own an Alexa device, compared to 23% who chose to go with Google Home. Interestingly, 20% of respondents said they had both an Alexa and a Home, although the survey didn’t ask if they were currently using both.
The insurance sector could drive adoption of more smart home tech, as water leak detectors become more popular. The report estimates that by the end of 2018, over 1 million policies will include connected home devices.
“What has made the smart home market unique, and why continued growth is inevitable, has been the continued resourcefulness around strategic inflection points,” Kozak said. “When it appears smart home growth could be stalling, new device makers inject optimism. At the same time vertical markets, like the insurance industry, are modifying decades-old practices, to bring smart home technologies to the masses.”