Voice Assistant and Car Purchase

3-in-5 Consumers Want the Same Voice Assistant in the Car as in the Home – New Amazon and JD Power Study

  • 59% of U.S. consumers said they were more likely to purchase a new car from a brand that supports their favored smart speaker voice assistant according to a survey of 5,000 smart speaker owners by J.D. Power
  • 76% of U.S. consumers said they are interested in seeing their smart speaker voice assistant accessible from inside their next car
  • Smart speaker based voice assistants have higher customer satisfaction than in-vehicle systems, but the difference is relatively small

J.D. Power collaborated with Amazon’s Alexa Auto in a recent survey that found 59% of consumers are more likely to purchase a car from auto brands that support their preferred voice assistant used in the home. Arianne Walker, chief evangelist for Alexa automotive commented in the finding:

“It didn’t surprise me that customers wanted to access to the voice services they use every day in the home while in their car. I was surprised that in the early days of voice adoption such a large percentage said not only would voice availability impact what vehicle they purchase, but they would consider a car company based on the availability of a preferred voice assistant. We’ve reached that tipping point in voice.”

We’ve reached a tipping point in voice.

The survey was conducted online in July 2018 in the U.S. and over 5,000 individual responses were gathered. Survey participants were required to own at least one vehicle from the 2014-2018 model years and own a smart speaker. The smart speaker ownership was not limited to Amazon Echo products, but also included Google Home and Apple HomePod device owners. You can download the full report here.

A Voicebot survey of over 1,000 U.S. adults revealed similar findings. The question was asked differently and responses were not limited to smart speaker device owners, but about 60% of consumers said the voice assistant choice does influence their purchase decision and about 19% said it was a significant factor or a requirement.

Consumers Want Their Smart Speaker Voice Assistants Available in the Car

The J.D. Power survey also asked whether consumers would like to have the voice assistant they use on their smart speakers also available in the car. Not surprisingly, many consumers see value in having consistent access to their voice assistant outside the home. With that said, this does not say that consumers exclusively want the home-based voice assistant while in the car.

Smart Speaker Based Voice Assistants Show Most Highest Satisfaction

Another key finding of the study is that smart speaker or in-home voice assistants show higher satisfaction among consumers. Smart speaker-based voice assistants ranked 7.81 compared to smartphones at 7.37 and in-vehicle voice solutions at 7.15.

You can see that voice assistant satisfaction across these three surfaces is fairly consistent. Smart speakers led the other two surfaces, but not by much. It is also notable that the 1-10 scale is also used for net promoter scores. A score of 9 or 10 is used to identify strong promoters of a technology, 7-8 is favorable but basically neutral, and 6 or below leads to users that are best thought of as detractors. What this data should indicate for voice assistant providers is that there is more work to do before voice assistant users as a whole become consistent and enthusiastic promoters of the technology.

Interview with Arianne Walker of Alexa Auto

Voicebot also had the opportunity to catch up with Amazon’s Ms. Walker to learn more about how the company interpreted the results and how it fits in with the Alexa Auto strategy.

How do the report findings impact Amazon’s voice strategy with automakers?

Adrianne Walker – Alexa Auto

Arianne Walker: It’s a great salient point to help the automakers understand the power of voice and how people really want to use it. What we hope from this is automakers embrace and help us with that vision in being able to provide choice for the customer in their vehicles. We have seen a lot of automakers embrace Alexa and voice services and bring Alexa into the car.

Do you think of the car as equivalent to a smart speaker with wheels?

Walker: A car is a very complicated device. When we think about car control we started thinking about controlling features of the car while outside of the car. Being able to utilize Alexa to get the cabin temperature to a nice 70 degrees and defrost the windows is a nice feature of voice control. The next step is to do many of those things while you are in the vehicle using voice. Being able to use your voice to activate certain controls so you can keep your hands on the wheel eyes on the road is a great safety feature for drivers.

You mention in-car controls. What is the status of Alexa offline mode for use while driving where cellular coverage is unreliable?

Walker: We are working on that through our Alexa Auto SDK. We have rolled out the first of those features like being able to handle turning on the air-conditioning and turning the fan up and down because we know it’s important for consumers to be able to have this control when they are not connected. We are working with automakers and suppliers and the SDK has deep hooks that go into the head unit [to enable these features].

There are many ways to bring Alexa into the car. How does Amazon think about the infotainment system, other embedded systems, or third-party devices such as Roav Viva or Alexa Auto?

Walker: Our north star is embedded voice assistant in the head unit of cars. It’s easy for consumers. You don’t need to bring your phone with you. However, there are long production lead times.BMW and Audi have that embedded experience in vehicles today. We’ve worked with automakers for a quicker integration using projection technology like Ford, Toyota, and Lexus which gets this to consumers faster. We also recognize there are many older automobiles on the road that don’t have the same capabilities and don’t necessarily have all of the more advanced hardware and software capabilities to allow for that embedded experience e. The aftermarket device and options are a great way to get Alex into all of those cars on the road today. We see it as giving customers choice and other options.

One other thing. We’ve worked with both automakers and integrators and suppliers to make it as easy as possible for automakers to get voice into the car. We want choice not just for our customers but also to our partners.

We are now seeing multiple voice assistants in the car. Often there is one from the automaker and another from a third party such as Alexa. How do you view that user experience where there are multiple assistants to choose from?

Walker: It’s really consistent with things we’ve done outside of the vehicle. The work that we have done with [Microsoft] Cortana and [Facebook] Portal is the assistants can hand off to each other and make sure customers have a good experience. We want to make sure it is easy for customers. Several automakers have gone all in on Alexa as the voice service on its own and we are also supporting automakers that want to have their own voice assistant as well.


Twice the Number of U.S. Adults Have Tried In-Car Voice Assistants as Smart Speakers

Alexa Automotive News Round Up – CES 2019

Amazon Releases Alexa Auto SDK