A new study from CSG International reveals that there could be a lot at stake in the ongoing virtual assistant wars. CSG surveyed more than 1,000 millennial consumers to determine their expectations for mobile service by 2022. One interesting data point was that 53% of respondents “said they were likely to spend more for a mobile service that acts as a personal assistant that can set meetings, post phone content to social media, order dinner and more.” The words “spend more” are significant. It indicates that millennials view a smart phone’s virtual assistant as a key differentiator when choosing their next mobile device.
Convenience Over Privacy
This should be music to Samsung’s ears as the tech giant recently debuted Bixby, a virtual assistant that is designed to make completing tasks easy and intuitive. But it also means that there is more at stake if a virtual assistant doesn’t deliver. Millennials as a group value convenience over anything else, even privacy, when it comes to technology. The study found that 73% of millennials are “likely to let providers user their location services to provide small conveniences,” like checking in for flights.
Are Virtual Assistants the New Mobile Differentiator?
While this finding demonstrates that millennials are willing to give up their privacy for convenience, it also indicates that they are more willing to use a virtual assistant to help them with smart phone tasks. This could indicate that a phone’s operating system could mean less to potential consumers, with greater importance placed on the virtual assistant inside. This shifting of priorities will place even more pressure on Google, Amazon, Microsoft, Apple, Samsung and other tech companies to get their virtual assistants in the hands of millennials before the competition does to encourage brand loyalty. We saw the importance of loyalty play out with phone operating systems as most consumers stick to just one. An iOS user is less willing to switch to an Android device, and vice versa. The same could happen with virtual assistants. Once you get comfortable with Google Assistant for example, switching to other assistant doesn’t seem as appealing.
It’s not surprising millennials value convenience over privacy. This is the generation that grew up sharing their lives on social media and being able to order rides and food on with a touch of a button, making them the ideal target market for virtual assistants. The question is, which one will meet their expectations?