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People care more about sound quality in their smart speaker than controlling lightbulbs

People care more about sound quality in their smart speaker than controlling lightbulbs


But price is above all

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A new poll from Morning Consult sheds some light on what attracts people to the smart voice assistant speaker category that Amazon established with the Echo, and now includes Apple’s HomePod and Google’s Home. The company surveyed 2,200 people to research how brand loyalty would impact the smart speaker space now that Apple has entered the competition.

Its findings show a high level of interest in Apple's HomePod: 33 percent of respondents said they were interested in buying the device, a number which only dropped to 30 percent after they read a chart (from The Verge) that breaks down the specs between popular products in the category. For people who own Apple products, those numbers were 45 percent and 40 percent, respectively.

But when asked which device they were likely to buy, Amazon lead by a small margin. Among Apple users, 18 percent said they're likely to buy an Amazon Echo, versus 17 percent for HomePod, 11 percent for the Echo Dot, and 4 percent for the Google Home. Among non-Apple users Amazon's Echo and Echo Dot hold the two top spots (17 and 11 percent), followed by Google Home (11 percent), and then HomePod (9 percent).

It's a complicated landscape for consumers right now, as reflected by the features chosen as "very important" when picking a voice-controlled smart speaker:

  • 57 percent Price
  • 51 percent Speaker / audio quality
  • 49 percent Accuracy of device's voice recognition
  • 44 percent Compatibility with devices you may already own, such as your smartphone
  • 30 percent Access to a variety or music streaming services
  • 29 percent Ability for device to integrate with other services or platforms, such as controlling smart light bulbs
  • 29 percent Brand that manufactures the device
  • 21 percent Aesthetics or look of the device

Obviously price is king, which partly explains why Amazon is doing so well, outside its first-mover advantage. But Apple's emphasis on sound quality with the HomePod — over some extensive story about home automation or music service flexibility — seems justified in light of these numbers.

And, of course, these numbers are all self-reported. Who knows a person’s thoughts?