Most Americans are concerned about the privacy of their conversations and personal data when using smart speakers such as Amazon.com's (AMZN) Alexa gadgets, according to the latest IBD/TIPP Poll published by Investor's Business Daily. But those concerns don't appear to be impacting sales of the voice-assistant devices.
The IBD/TIPP Poll found that more than 70% of respondents are concerned about their privacy with smart speakers. Curiously, the amount of concern is similar among people who own smart speakers vs. those who don't, the survey revealed.
IBD/TIPP is a collaboration between Investor's Business Daily and TechnoMetrica Market Intelligence. For the latest poll, TechnoMetrica conducted a telephone survey of 902 U.S. adults between March 28 and April 6.
When asked, "How concerned are you about the privacy of personal data and conversations on smart-home devices such as Amazon Alexa, Google Home and Apple HomePod?" 43% said they were "very concerned" and 27% said they were "somewhat concerned." Of the rest, 14% are "not very concerned" and 10% are "not at all concerned." The remaining 6% are unsure or declined to answer the question.
Levels of concern were generally higher among older respondents and those with more education, the IBD/TIPP Poll showed.
Some 39% of survey respondents said they own a smart speaker such as Amazon Echo, Alphabet's (GOOGL) Google Home and Apple (AAPL) HomePod. Other companies in the smart speaker market include Facebook (FB), Samsung and Sonos (SONO).
Intensity Of Concern Higher Among Smart Speaker Holdouts
According to the survey, 72% of smart speaker owners are concerned about privacy with the always-listening devices. Meanwhile, 71% of people who don't own smart speakers noted concerns about privacy with the devices.
However, looking just at people who said they are "very concerned" about privacy on smart speakers, there is a difference. Among owners of smart speakers, 37% are "very concerned" about privacy issues. Among people who don't own smart speakers, the percentage who are "very concerned" jumps to 47%.
For those people who don't own smart speakers, a good portion see the devices as "an invasion of privacy," TechnoMetrica President Raghavan Mayur said. "Alexa can have a history of your life" by listening to personal conversations in the home, he said.
Amazon Listens To Voice Recordings From Alexa
Bloomberg reported Wednesday that Amazon employs thousands of people worldwide who listen to voice recordings captured in Echo owners' homes. The process is used to improve Alexa's understanding of human speech and help it better respond to commands, the report said.
"We take the security and privacy of our customers' personal information seriously," an Amazon spokesman told Bloomberg. "We only annotate an extremely small sample of Alexa voice recordings in order (to) improve the customer experience."
Smart speakers have been hot-selling consumer electronics devices for several years. They allow people to use their voice to get information, play music and control smart home products.
Market research firm IDC said recently that it expects shipments of smart speakers to grow at a compound annual rate of 13.6% over the next five years. IDC forecasts shipments to hit 240.1 million units in 2023, up from 144.3 million units in 2019.
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