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People do actually want to use their smart speakers to buy things

  • Newly published research shows that 62 percent of smart speaker owners planned to buy something through their device in the next month.
  • That's good news for Amazon and Google, which slashed the prices on their speakers so dramatically that they likely lost money on every unit sold this holiday season.
  • People said they'd be willing to get info about deals and sales, personalized tips and event information on their smart speakers.
The Echo Plus looks great around the house
Todd Haselton | CNBC
The Echo Plus looks great around the house

People do actually want to use their smart speakers to shop.

Newly published research from Google and Peerless found that 62 percent of smart speaker owners surveyed said they were likely to buy something through their speaker in the next month.

That's good news for both Google and Amazon — which so steeply discounted their smart speaker products over the holidays that they each likely lost a few dollars on every unit sold. The solution to that could come through sponsored shopping.

As CNBC reported earlier this week, Amazon has big plans for bringing sponsored products ads to Alexa in 2018, allowing brands to promote their products in shopping searches or recommend them if a user asks their Echo a related question, like the best way to clean up a spill. Google, which currently allows Home users to buy products through its shopping service, Express, obviously has a lot of experience with paid product searches, too.

The survey, which was conducted this fall among 1,642 U.S. monthly active voice-activated speaker owners, also asked what kinds of information people would be willing to get from companies. It found that 52 percent of people wanted information about deals, sales and promotions, 48 percent would like personalized tips, 42 percent would be open to getting info about upcoming events and activities, 39 percent would like store locations and hours, and 38 percent wanted access to customer service.

As more people start shopping through the Google and Amazon speakers now blinking in their kitchens, living rooms or bedrooms, both companies will be trying to figure out the best way to monetize their new voice-activated format.

Meanwhile, some users see their Echo or Home as more than just a piece of hardware: 41 percent of people said that communicating with their speaker feels like talking to a friend or another person.

Also included in the survey, here are the top reasons people said that they use their smart speakers:

  1. It allows me to more easily multitask.
  2. It enables me to do things faster than other devices.
  3. It empowers me to instantly get answers and information.
  4. It makes my daily routine easier.