Chinese Consumers Lead the Globe in AI Device Ownership – PwC
Chinese consumers lead the world in AI device adoption with 21% owning a device such as a smart speaker or home robot according to the PwC Global Consumer Insights Survey 2018. Another 52% of the population expects to buy one.
The number clearly indicates devices beyond smart speakers given that Alibaba is leading in market share for that category and has only shipped about one million devices. The 21% figure is obviously hundreds of millions of consumers. PwC says the question was, “Do you currently own any artificial intelligence (AI) devices (robots, automated ‘personal assistants’) such as Amazon Echo or Google Home?” I presume the question was localized for China. Neither Amazon Echo nor Google Home are available today in China. It is not clear what product category makes up the vast majority of the AI devices in the China sample.
Asia Will be Big for Voice AI
The next two countries in terms of percentage adoption are Vietnam and Indonesia followed by the U.S. Both Vietnam and Indonesia also rank highly in likelihood to purchase an AI device at 45% and 49% respectively. The top two countries in terms of current ownership and planned purchase are China and Brazil, both at 73%. The U.S., France and U.K. are among the lowest in terms of current and planned purchase at 41%, 39% and 38%. PwC comments on this disparity in the report:
“Asian consumers appear to be the most receptive to adopting AI devices for shopping. In China’s massive consumer market, more than one in five respondents (21%) already own an AI device and more than half (52%) plan to buy one. The story is similar in Vietnam (19% own, 45% plan to), Indonesia (18% own, 49% plan to), and Thailand (15% own, 44% plan to). Asian consumers’ openness to buying AI devices reflects their preference for voice interaction with electronics, as well as lower levels of concern about online privacy and security. In contrast, demand is generally lower in developed markets.”
Since smart speakers are not in wide circulation in Asian countries yet, this report helps establish a broader aperture for considering how voice interaction will used by consumers. Smart speakers are just the main point of entry for voice AI in the U.S. and western nations. Elsewhere, other devices are clearly leading consumer adoption of voice.
US Smart Speaker Adoption is Likely Higher
As for U.S. device ownership, Voicebot’s Smart Speaker Consumer Adoption Report 2018 showed 19.7% ownership by U.S. adults. The difference could be accounted for due to PwC accepting surveys from younger consumers, the way the question was asked or the timing of the survey. We have reached out to PwC to better understand the methodology and will update the article when we learn more.