Saturday, July 30, 2022

Smart Speaker Users Still Have Privacy Concerns

Smart Speaker penetration has expanded in recent years in the US, and the COVID-19 pandemic led owners to use their devices more. Yet as much as some things change, they stay the same: privacy concerns still weigh heavily on the minds of Smart Speaker owners, with a key issue being the devices always listening. So finds the latest Smart Audio Report from National Public Media and Edison Research.

The study indicates that this year almost half (47%) of Smart Speaker owners agree that it bothers them that their device is always listening. That figure actually represents a considerable rise from the 38% who agreed with this concern 5 years ago, in the 2017 edition of the survey.

There has also been a slight rise in the percentage of Smart Speaker owners who worry that hackers could use their device to get access to their home or personal information, with 52% agreeing with this, compared to 48% in 2017. However, fewer worry that their device could allow the government to listen to their private conversations (43%, down from 48%).

Despite these concerns, this year almost 6 in 10 (58%) agree that they trust the companies that make the Smart Speaker to keep their information secure.

Still, for those survey respondents who don’t own a Smart Speaker, these worries also figure prominently. Half (51%) say that concerns about a Smart Speaker always listening are a reason they don’t own such a device, and likewise half (50%) say the same regarding worries about hackers getting access to their information or home.

Indeed, 62% of non-owners say it’s “not at all likely” they’ll purchase a voice-enabled speaker in the next 6 months, up from 46% who responded the same in 2017. This is perhaps to be expected as the market matures, as some of those non-owners in 2017 will have likely purchased a device by now.

➤Voice Usage Trends

As digital audio listening rises, 1 in 5 Smart Speaker owners say that their device is what they use most often to listen to audio. That’s slightly more than say they use AM/FM radio (19% share) most often, though mobile devices (smartphone or tablet) are the primary audio listening devices for the largest share (34%) of Smart Speaker owners.

Among Smart Speaker owners, those ages 45-54 appear to be the most likely to listen to audio most through their devices: 28% said they mostly do so, compared to the 20% average across adult age groups.

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