Voice Purchasing Rose in 2018 Among US Smart Speaker Owners, Voice-Assisted Product Search is Even Bigger

The U.S. Smart Speaker Consumer Adoption Report for 2019 revealed that 15% of U.S. smart speaker owners say they were making purchases by voice on a monthly basis at the end of 2018. That is up from 13.6% that were using voice for retail purchases at the beginning of the year. Keep in mind that this reflects a 10.5% rise in the relative use of smart speaker-based voice purchasing on top of a 40% rise in year-over-year device ownership. This voice shopping cohort reflects about 4% of all U.S. adults.

Jeff McMahon, CEO of Voicify, commented in this week’s Voicebot Podcast (N.B. segment starts at 39:49) that the rapid rise of voice purchasing in 2018 may be related to the six-fold increase in smart display ownership during 2018.

There is at least a correlation and future evidence may show there is causation as well…that [the rise in voice purchasing] is highly correlated with the new screen-based devices…I do think multimodal devices and their continued proliferation will also be a contributor to voice commerce.

Smart speaker owner behavioral data suggests McMahon’s prediction is correct. Smart display owners were 133% more likely to make voice purchases on a monthly basis in 2018 and 76% more likely to be conducting product searches using the devices.

Product Search on Smart Speakers is Even Higher

While about 15% of smart speakers owners say they are making voice purchases regularly, 27.8% say they are using the devices monthly for product search. Voicebot’s current assessment is that voice-assisted product search is having an even bigger impact today than voice-triggered purchasing. Much of the voice purchasing today is repurchase using the convenience of a smart speaker’s presence in the kitchen. Voice-assisted product search is about discovering new products and considering their merit. This is the front end of the buying process that may culminate in a purchase and a product or service acquiring a new customer.

Data published this week from CouponFollow also identifies the rise of this new voice shopping behavior. That report found 45% of millennials today have used voice assistants during the shopping process for product discovery and to find product reviews. This is a broader assessment than Voicebot’s smart speaker user data because it includes the use of voice shopping on other devices such as smartphones. However, both data points emphasize that voice assistants are already being used in the shopping process. You can learn more about voice shopping consumer behavior by downloading the 2019 smart speaker report below.

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