- Only about one out of five consumers have shopped using a voice assistant like Amazon Alexa or Apple's Siri, suggesting that voice commerce is still in its early stages of adoption, per a study that digital commerce firm Sumo Heavy shared with sister publication Mobile Marketer. Less than half (46%) of U.S. consumers said they never use voice assistants, while another third said they rely on them regularly.
- People who describe themselves as heavy users of voice assistants in general are more likely to use the technology for shopping. Fewer than half (42%) of frequent voice assistant users have shopped with voice commands, the survey found.
- Smart speaker ownership tends to be associated with heavier usage of voice assistants, with 35% of consumers saying they own a voice-powered device and use it at least weekly. More than two-thirds (68%) of Apple iOS users said they've used a voice assistant in the past, compared to 45% of Android users.
Sumo Heavy's survey of more than 1,000 U.S. consumers suggests that voice commerce is still in the early stages of development, despite efforts by companies like Amazon to make voice shopping easier for its customers. A key feature of Amazon Alexa is the ability to make shopping lists that the company can fulfill through its e-commerce platform or brick-and-mortar footprint. Amazon doesn't disclose information about Alexa shopping, although a report last year indicated that only 2% of consumers who use the virtual assistant made a purchase by voice. Amazon contested the report, saying that millions of people use Alexa to shop.
Sumo Heavy forecasts that voice shopping will grow as consumers become accustomed to emerging voice tech and realize that virtual assistants have greater functionality than handling simple requests for information or activating on-demand music. While this means businesses need to prepared for the possibility of handling more voice-powered interactions with customers, just 3.8% of businesses displayed correct contact information for voice searches, per a separate study by location marketing firm Uberall.
The number of voice assistants in use is predicted to jump threefold to 8 billion by 2023 from 2.5 billion at the end of 2018, Juniper Research forecasts. Smart TV usage will rise about 121% a year, making the voice-enabled products the fastest-growing source of voice tech for consumers, followed by smart speakers (41% yearly growth) and wearables (up 40%), the study said.