The March of the Voice Assistants

Any emerging technology inevitably enters the ring of advertising. Augmented and virtual reality, visual search, chatbots and voice commerce have all been on the radar of retailers as the next big possibility of marketing. Let's take a look at one of the newest kids on the block -- Voice Assistants.

Smart speakers, like Amazon Echo and Google Home have exploded onto the scene with a velocity and a pervasiveness that is pretty much unprecedented in the history of consumer electronics. There have been several remarkable findings about these voice assistants in 2018 that spotlight their unstoppable march into our living rooms and our collective consciousness. Here are a few statistics to back that statement up:

  • 43 million Americans own a smart speaker - That's approximately 18% of the adult population in the US. This surpasses the number of people that live in California, and that's just after two years of existence!
  • The usage of these smart speakers varies very little by age - Unlike any other technological device, users of all ages have found these devices to be a boon to their lives, and useful, to boot! The use of these voice assistants varies very little amongst users 25, 35, 45 or 55 years old.
  • In 2018 (at the time of this writing), most of those who use a smart speaker are new users - Recent research indicates that 74% of all smart speaker owners have had their device for less than one year. The remaining 26% were some of the first users to own their smart speaker, having it more than 12 months.
  • Nearly half of all smart speaker owners have purchased two or three more units - In addition, the 27% of those that have owned a smart speaker for a year, now have three units or more.

According to a survey conducted in May of 2018, 30% of US internet users have used a voice assistant to search for product information, or to purchase products. This is entering an arena that has been anticipated by marketers since these devices began to proliferate inexorably.

While the numbers of users that use their smart speakers to make purchases aren't incredibly high yet, they are higher than comparable activities. Experts forecast that in 2018, 10% of users will research a product, or at least place an item in their shopping cart or make a purchase using a smart speaker.

According to eMarketer, the two most popular brands of smart speakers are Amazon Echo and Google Home. The Echo is estimated to be in 40.7 million households in 2018, while Google Home will have 18 million. Looking into the future a couple of years reveals similar statistics, with the Echo's numbers hitting 46.5 million users and Google Home reaching 25.2 million users.

The popularity of these smart helpers has sounded a wakeup call to brand marketers. Any device becoming so proliferous amongst internet shoppers must have an advantage geared towards the advertising aspect. While shoppers are currently satisfied with the traditional search methods, there seems to be an aspect of search that is quickly growing amongst shoppers. That would be shopping via voice rather than typing into a search box. This is especially true amongst those who are experienced with their voice assistants. According to recent research, voice assistant users favor searching with their voice (71%) over typing their query into a search box (29%). Admittedly, shopping at the brick and mortar stores and shopping online are still preferred over shopping by voice.

The popularity of these smart helpers has sounded a wakeup call to brand marketers. Any device becoming so proliferous amongst internet shoppers must have an advantage geared towards the advertising aspect. While shoppers are currently satisfied with the traditional search methods, there seems to be an aspect of search that is quickly growing amongst shoppers. That would be shopping via voice rather than typing into a search box. This is especially true amongst those who are experienced with their voice assistants. According to recent research, voice assistant users favor searching with their voice (71%) over typing their query into a search box (29%). Admittedly, shopping at the brick and mortar stores and shopping online are still preferred over shopping by voice.

At Genius Monkey, we keep abreast of all of the forms of marketing so that we can pass the valuable information on to our followers. After all, you can never know too much about what makes shoppers happy, and what turns them off.

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