People turning to smart speakers such as Amazon Echo to ‘declutter’

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Amazon Echo Sub
Amazon recently added the Echo Sub to its line-up (Amazon/PA)

Users of smart speakers such as Amazon Echo and Google Home see the technology as a way to declutter and use fewer screens in their day-to-day lives, new research suggests.

The number of people using intelligent voice-activated speakers has almost doubled in the last year, with 10% of the UK saying they regularly use one, the Reuters Institute found.

Consumers said they saw smart speakers as a chance to declutter, replacing traditional radios around the home, particularly in living rooms, kitchens and bedrooms, and instead choosing to listen to live web streams of radio broadcasts.

Many indicated that they expect voice to have largely replaced remote controls for TV and other household devices.

“These technologies are still at an early stage,” said Nic Newman, author of the report, The Future of Voice and the Implications for News.

“We will increasingly use our voice to control devices and access media, because it is a quicker and more convenient input for many purposes than touchscreens or remote controls.”

The research also showed that people saw smart speakers as an effective way to spend less time with screens, helping them detach from the distractions sometimes posed by the internet.

Tech giants have remained silent about the exact number of smart speakers they have sold. However, the report’s data, based on a survey of 1,000 UK smart speaker owners, suggests that Amazon Echo is currently in the lead with just under three-quarters of the market (74%).

This is followed by Google Home at 14% and Sonos One (which is powered by Alexa) taking 5%.

Chris Price