The average in-home data usage for smart speakers grew by leaps and bounds during 2020, with a nearly 200% increase in November compared to the same time last year. Comscore found that overall in-home data usage levels throughout 2020 remained significantly higher than in 2019.
Through the first several months of the pandemic and COVID-related lockdowns, data consumption from the Comscore Connected Home custom reporting showed increased usage across all connected devices, smart TVs, laptops, gaming consoles, phones, smart speakers, streaming boxes/sticks and tablets, which all saw strong growth in data usage versus 2019.
Smart speaker in-home data usage in January 2020 was a mere 7% above the same month a year before. In April, that number increased to 47% and leveled off to +25% in May. A summer surge in August had in-home data usage for smart speakers up by 62% year-over-year.
News and information surrounding the 2020 Election saw in-home data usage for smart speakers rocket to 195% above what it was a year earlier, according to the Comscore report. December (1-27) saw in-home data usage increase by 148% from December 2019.
Smart speaker usage has become a gateway for listening to broadcast AM/FM radio. In just released data, Triton Digital reports the portion of listening to U.S. AM/FM streams that occurs on smart speakers climbed to 22% in December 2020, up from 19% in December 2019 and 17% in December 2018. That represents a 29% increase in the share of AM/FM streaming taking place on smart speakers in two years.
Overall, Comscore says all platforms were up 36% in April as the country settled into work-from-home and home-schooling situations, which was the peak month of in-home data usage increases for 2020. By the summer, year-over-year growth rates across all devices seemed to level off to around 15% on average, but smart TVs and home computers continued to see growth rates upwards of 30% versus 2019.
As 2020 came to an end, year-over-year growth in data consumption during Q4 2020 slowed slightly – in-home data consumption increased at roughly the same rates seen in the weeks leading up to COVID closures. Overall, total in-home data consumption in 2020 increased 18% from the previous year.
Throughout the COVID-19 pandemic, consumers had adapted to a modified way of life. As lockdowns had eased, Comscore says data consumption growth appears to have begun to slow in comparison to the peak months in early 2020. The audience measurement firm will continue to monitor these changing consumption habits on its Coronavirus Insights Hub.