How Many Will Buy a Smart Speaker This Holiday Season?

In April, we joined forces with Jacobs Media and its Jacapps division and formed Sonic Ai.  We develop smart speaker “skills” for radio stations and podcasters, and have seen the business quickly morph beyond development to advising clients on audio tactics and strategies for this fast-growing category.  If you were starting a video network, you would need to do more than just buy a camera.  It’s pretty much the same deal here.  

These new devices, the Alexa voice Echo and Echo Dot from Amazon, along with Google’s Home and Home Mini, have generated a lot of buzz. Both are aggressively marketing their voice-controlled gadgets at low prices on national television, leading us to wonder whether this will be an “Alexa Christmas” (and Hanukah).

Yesterday, Sonic Ai, Jacobs Media and Jacapps released the results of a flash poll gauging the momentum of smart speakers for this holiday season. Here are some highlights: 

Our national web survey was conducted less than week ago – before Black Friday and Cyber Monday – from November 17-21, 2017, among 1,005 respondents age 13 and older.  So this data is very fresh.

1 out of every 6 households already have one – That is remarkable.  The momentum is astonishing. In May, Edison Research and NPR released a major study on Smart Speakers and household penetration was at 7%. Edison forecasted a sharp rise.  Here we are 7 months later and 18% of all online households report owning at least one of these gadgets (that’s more than in one of every six homes).  

Smart-Speaker-2017-Holiday- 1 in 6_pdf.png


4 out of 10 own more than one - Tracking with previous studies, people who own one are likely to own more than one.  Four out of ten own more than one smart speaker, placing them in various locations around the home

People want them for the holidays - A whopping one in five (20%) of those surveyed say they plan to purchase a smart speaker during the 2017 holiday season for themselves or as a gift.


Nearly 7 out of 10 have enabled at least one “skill” -  Most people who own an Echo have “enabled” at least one “skill.”  That’s a good sign listeners aren’t just using these devices as timers and ways to access the weather.  It also suggests that being in there now is critically important as habits are being formed.  


You can learn more about how your station or podcast can participate in the strategic development of Alexa “skills” by contacting or 888-776-6422 – our company’s partnership dedicated to radio, podcasting, and smart speaker audio strategy.

Thanks to Jacobs Media’s new Research Director, Jason Hollins who conducted the poll.

The full slide deck is here

Steven GoldsteinComment