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  • Writer's pictureBig Rick Stuart

Why Stalled Out Smart Speaker Sales Will Hurt Radio Broadcasters

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We've seen this one coming for a while. Like a slow moving ocean liner about to hit that iceberg, the sales of smart speakers have ground to nearly a trickle, confounding many experts who had predicted voice, largely driven by smart speakers, would rapidly replace search on a computer and mobile device keyboards.

The top excuse – “no use for one” – can be a lot of things, from lack of knowledge of the technology to a simple rejection of these gadgets. But the second reason, mentioned by nearly one-third of those who don't own a smart speaker, is more telling.

“Privacy concerns” has been a key stumbling block from the beginning. If you remember the early reviews and commentaries, especially on Amazon devices, there was this “it's listening all the time” part of the devices' narrative. In the scores of focus groups I've conducted since these devices first hit the market, I've heard the same trope:

“I'm not about to bring a device into my home that listens to my conversations.”

For smart speakers to become a true mass market success, this isn't just a speed bump – it's a core reason why millions have rejected the technology.

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