Voice Assistants Are Redefining the Way Americans Shop

Is voice the next major frontier in commerce?

by Mike Hunter

Voice assistants such as Amazon’s Alexa and Apple’s Siri have ushered in a new era of customer interactions with technology. Individuals can use voice assistants on a range of smart devices (e.g., smart speakers, smart phones, etc.) to carry out a multitude of tasks. From asking for directions to shopping, voice assistants have enabled consumers to acquire information and make decisions in a quicker manner than ever before.  

Focusing specifically on shopping with voice-assistants, management strategy consultants OC&C estimate an astonishing $40 billion will be spent on U.S. voice commerce by 2022. This trend is perhaps unsurprising, as 55 percent of American consumers already claim to “enjoy” shopping via voice-activated devices, per statistics from digital agency Salmon. And despite much of the public being unaware of the offers provided by companies such as Amazon and Google exclusively for their voice shoppers, 10.57 percent have managed to take advantage of a deal or coupon on a specific voice assistant to attain a desired product or service.

Interested in the rise of voice shopping, online marketplace OnBuy.com analyzed findings from VoiceBot.AI, which surveyed 1,203 U.S. consumers to better understand the products and services they buy the most using a voice assistant. 

OnBuy.com found that everyday household items like cleaning detergents are the products most ordered by Americans through voice assistants. Thereafter, U.S. consumers equally purchase apparel and entertainment (e.g., music, movies, etc.) from voice assistants. 

Interestingly, 14.54 percent are confident enough to buy consumer electronics using a voice assistant. In contrast, Americans are least likely to use a voice assistant to locate and give their business to a local service they may need, such as a hair salon or dry-cleaning outlet — with only 3.52 percent presently doing so. 

Looking at the apprehensions people have when using a voice assistant to buy goods or services, many (31.72 percent) do not feel entirely comfortable shopping by voice. That this may be an outcome of how accustomed individuals have become to shopping with a screen and keyboard on smart devices is reflected by 21.15 percent of Americans not warming to voice shopping because there is no screen and 16.74 percent believing they can type faster to get what is wanted. Both these stats are particularly reflective of those alluding to smart speakers (no screen or keyboard) as the device on which a consumer has been using a voice assistant to conduct a purchasing activity.

Observes Cas Paton, managing director of OnBuy.com, “Voice has established itself as the next major frontier in commerce. As individuals become more familiar with the technology, the more trust and confidence they will gain to carry out activities such as shopping via a voice assistant. This study certainly shows that Americans are already using voice to research and purchase goods from several product and service categories. With the technology only set to improve, voice search will gradually evolve to provide a seamless experience and become a reliable shopping avenue for consumers.”   

What American Consumers Buy Most Using a Voice Assistant

Product/Service Pct.
Everyday household items 25.11%
Apparel 21.15%
Entertainment (music, movies, etc.) 21.15%
Games 18.94%
Consumer electronics 14.54%
Groceries 11.89%
Travel 11.89%
Furniture  9.25%
Appliances 8.37%
Prepared meal and/or drink  7.05%
Local services (dry cleaning, etc.)  3.52%

What American Consumers Like about Shopping with a Voice Assistant

Attribute Pct.
Hands-free 27.31%
Can shop while doing other thing 20.70%
Faster to get results/answers 18.94%
Take advantage of an exclusive deal/coupon with specific voice assistant 10.57%
Seems more natural  9.25%

What American Consumers Dislike about Shopping with a Voice Assistant

Not comfortable shopping by voice 31.72%
Don’t trust a voice assistant with payment information 23.35%
No screen (e.g., on smart speakers) 21.15%
Can type faster to get what is wanted 16.74%
Do not like saying the wake word (i.e., “Alexa” or “OK Google”) 10.57%

American Consumers’ Interest in the Integration of a Voice Assistant into the In-Store Experience

Use Pct.
Locate a product 31.1%
Learn about discounts or deals 29.5%
Compare products 25.5%
Get help 20.8%
Self-checkout 17.6%

Source: www.onbuy.com

 

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