- Most U.S. consumers (70%) haven't used a voice-enabled digital assistant to find product information or to make purchases, and are more comfortable using innovations such as personalized search or image search to shop, per a study by personalization firm RichRelevance shared with Mobile Marketer.
- Search is a key part of online shopping, with 86% of U.S. consumers saying that the search box is extremely important or important when shopping on a retailer's web or mobile site. Eighty percent of respondents always or often use site search while shopping, and most respondents (72%) are likely to leave a retail site that doesn't provide good search results.
- Among consumers who use voice search to shop, Google Assistant was more popular with 14% of respondents compared with Amazon Alexa's 9%. Survey respondents are more equally split between Google (13%) and Amazon (12%) when asked who will eventually get voice shopping right. RichRelevance surveyed more than 1,000 U.S. shoppers about their online buying habits.
RichRelevance's survey suggests that voice-enabled shopping is still in its infancy, and that consumers still feel more comfortable with being able to see images of products before making a purchase. Tech giants like Amazon, Apple, Google and Microsoft should be discouraged at survey results that show 63% of consumers don't expect them to "eventually get it right" when it comes to voice-enabled shopping.
But at least a younger generation of shoppers shows more willingness to use voice search. Almost half (43%) of people ages 18 to 29 have used voice search, compared with 30% overall. Young adults said they use Apple Siri (20%), Google Assistant (17%) and Amazon Alexa (11%) to shop.
Voice-enabled platforms have been touted as the next big thing in the way consumers will interact with technology, but it remains to be seen how smart speakers will be used for shopping. Amazon has been the market leader for smart speakers with its Alexa-powered Echo devices but Google Assistant-powered Home devices are gaining. Amazon has used aggressive pricing tactics as a loss leader to urge consumers to try out its digital assistant platform.
Voice-enabled devices are still in a rapid growth stage, making them a more viable marketing platform, especially for music streaming, news subscriptions and other informational services. Marketers are starting to leverage these platforms as part of creative campaigns, such as Amazon delivering a giant "Jurassic World" box in a cross-channel marketing stunt that includes being able to ask Amazon's voice assistant to get clues about what's inside the box to unlock a multi-part interactive experience featuring dinosaur sounds.
Global smart speaker shipments nearly quadrupled (rising 287%) to 9.2 million units in Q1 2018 from a year earlier. Amazon shipped 4 million of those devices, but its market share slipped to 43.6% from 81.8% year-over-year, according to researcher Strategy Analytics. Google shipped 2.4 million smart speaker units in the quarter, giving it a 26.5% market share, compared with 12% a year earlier. Amazon and Google dominated the market with a 70% share of global smart speaker shipments in Q1 2018.