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Press release
Technology|Home and Living|Echo|United States|English

Three-quarters of US consumers have used voice commands to operate digital devices – GfK

New York, NY, 26.04.2017

Digital home assistants tap into a well-established technology – but ownership, intent to buy remain low

Though they are breaking new ground in many ways, “digital home assistants” – such as Amazon Echo and Google Home – are also leveraging consumers’ proven comfort with using speech to operate digital devices.

New research from GfK shows that 76% of US consumers (ages 13 to 64) have used voice commands on any device. Within this group, 69% say they have used speech to operate a smartphone; tablets (21%), car radios/navigation (20%), computers (18%), and TV sets (14%) registered much lower levels.

Download the full infographic from this study. 

Less than two years after introduction, digital home assistants (DHA) have yet to make more than a small dent in the US market, with just 11% of consumers saying they own either an Amazon Echo/Dot (10%) or Google Home (2%). And, among non-owners, intent to buy a DHA is low (just 3% are “very likely” to purchase one in the next year).

The findings come from GfK’s new “Commanding Media” report, one of an annual series of reports known as The Home Technology Monitor®. The study explores the general use of voice commands with technology devices, along with a deep dive into the usage of Amazon Echo and Google Home devices.

Read a new GfK blog post on Smart Home, featuring data from this study. 

The report shows that almost half (46%) of those who own DHAs say they use the devices at least regularly, and two in ten (19%) turn to them “all the time.” Playing music is by far the most common application for the assistants, cited by two-thirds (63%) of DHA owners. (See list below.)

Top 10 ways people are using digital home assistants


  1. Play streamed or downloaded music
  2. Ask a question
  3. Get news/weather/traffic
  4. Get sports news
  5. Control lights/thermostat/fans
  6. Check/revise calendar/to do lists
  7. Play videos
  8. Search for/play podcasts
  9. Read/compose emails/texts
  10. Order products from Amazon or elsewhere  

Source: “Commanding Media 2017,” GfK

“The use of voice opens up new relationships between consumers, device makers, voice service providers, and advertisers that will need to be carefully navigated,” said David Tice, SVP Consulting at GfK. “With these devices integrated so closely into their lives, consumers will be especially sensitive to false steps --whether it be violating the privacy of conversations, prioritizing search results based on payments, promotion of certain shopping services above others, or enabling intrusive advertising.”

The new study, “Commanding Media 2017,” is based on interviews with 1,012 members of GfK’s KnowledgePanel®, of which 108 were DHA owners. The report also includes:

  • brief details about voice command usage with smartphones, tablets, computers, and TVs/TV-connected devices
  • a user experience (UX) evaluation of DHA devices, with recommendations for the future
  • exploration of privacy and device compatibility issues among potential DHA buyers
  • profiles of active DHA users
  • in-depth descriptions of how the devices are being used
  • DHA user likes and dislikes

About GfK

GfK is the trusted source of relevant market and consumer information that enables its clients to make smarter decisions. More than 13,000 market research experts combine their passion with GfK’s long-standing data science experience. This allows GfK to deliver vital global insights matched with local market intelligence from more than 100 countries. By using innovative technologies and data sciences, GfK turns big data into smart data, enabling its clients to improve their competitive edge and enrich consumers’ experiences and choices.

For more information, please visit www.gfk.com/en-us or follow @GfK on Twitter.

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