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March 9, 2018 • Volume 6


Google Home's surprising demographic makeup

In preparing for a presentation at next week’s Path to Purchase Summit in Chicago, I asked our heroic Analyst team [yes, I am not above apple polishing when it comes to those that provide the fuel for our thought leadership flames] to refresh our data on voice-powered speakers.

For this exercise, we just focused on Amazon’s Alexa and Google’s Assistant-powered devices.There were three big findings; two that met our expectations, and one that was a big surprise. I know that I’m preaching to the choir here, but there is a ton of value in both.
Even when data meets our expectations, it gives us hard numbers to bring to our bosses that might be skeptical, and it validates our instincts on how markets are evolving. The surprises, of course, are much more fun as they force us to think differently about the assumptions that underlie decisions that we have to make in the future. 

Let’s start with the assumption-validating data points:

  • First, voice-powered speakers continued their blisteringly strong growth rate in 2017.
  • In 2017, Alexa and Google device sales (in units) grew by 78 percent, more than doubling the number of talking speakers in our homes.

Slightly more interesting, but still in the realm of reasonable expectations, the demographics of voice-powered speaker buyers have become far more mainstream than when they were first available in 2015 for a full year.

At that time, the buyers of these devices looked like typical electronics early adopters.

  • 72 percent were men, 48 percent fell between the ages of 35 and 54, and 37 percent had an annual household income of more than $100,000.
  • In just two years, we saw significant shifts in those numbers. Men only accounted for 60 percent of device sales in 2017. 35 to 54 year olds dropped from 48 percent of buyers to 33, and households with an income of more than $100,000 dropped from 37 percent to 31 percent.

About Ken

Ken Cassar is vice president, principal analyst at Slice Intelligence, where he looks at trends in the e-commerce industry armed with Slice’s robust set of online sales data.

Ken brings a rich online retail background to Slice Intelligence. Most recently, Ken was SVP, Media Analytic Solutions at Nielsen, where he developed several innovative digital commerce measurement and advertising effectiveness solutions. Prior to Nielsen, Ken was an analyst at Jupiter Research, where he was an early thought leader, trusted adviser, and media source on e-commerce. His prescient outlook on fledgling e-commerce industry was a key contributor to Jupiter’s dominance as a digital media zeitgeist at the dawn of the Internet.

Ken has an MBA and Bachelors Degree in Political Science from the University of Connecticut. Ken aspires to stay technologically ahead of his teenage children, as evidenced by his ‘Gadget Geek’ Slice profile. He also has the appropriate jacket for every occasion.