As Apple fans eagerly await the launch of the HomePod this year, the smart speaker market as a whole is booming. According to new research from NPR and Edison Research, one in six Americans now own some sort of smart speaker – up 128 percent compared to January 2017…

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According to the data 16 percent of Americans, or 39 million people, now own a smart speaker. Of that number, some 11 percent own an Amazon Echo, while 4 percent own a Google Home product.

The holiday shopping season, as TechCrunch notes, seems to have played a major role in the growth of the smart speaker market. 7 percent of Americans say they acquired at least one smart speaker during the season, while 4 percent say they acquired their first device.

In terms of functionality, smart home features are said to be one of the top things people are looking for – with 64 percent saying they acquired a smart speaker for smart home functionality. Meanwhile, 66 percent say they want to entertain family and friends with their smart speaker.

Also somewhat notably, 44 percent of smart home users say they’ve started using the built-in voice assistant on their phone more since getting their smart speaker. 39 percent say their smart speaker largely replaces traditional AM/FM radio, while 34 percent say it replaces some use with their smartphone.

For Apple, NPR’s research is notable for a few reasons. For one, it signals that while the smart speaker market is booming, there’s still plenty of room for growth and new competition – some 84 percent of Americans still don’t own such a device. Furthermore, it signals that usage of the HomePod could drive more people to use Siri on their smartphone. Finally, with smart home functionality being one of the top features of smart speakers, Apple’s HomeKit platform could also see growth.

It’s still unclear as to when we’ll see HomePod launch to the public. An analyst last week estimated that we’re looking at 4-6 weeks, but that Apple is facing an uphill battle.

Do you already own a smart speaker? Are you planning on purchasing a HomePod? Let us know down in the comments.


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