Microsoft Releases Voice Assistant Usage Report, Finds Apple Siri And Google Assistant Tied at 36%, and 41% of Respondents Have Privacy Concerns


Image Credit: Microsoft 2019 Voice Report

  • Microsoft released a report recently analyzing the findings of two separate consumer-focused surveys and Microsoft internal data across five core themes.
  • The report found that 41% of users reported concerns around trust, privacy, and passive listening.
  • Consumers will not divulge PII (personally identifiable information) without a substantial reward.
  • 19% of respondents reported using Microsoft Cortana, 36% use Siri, 36% use Google Assistant, 25% use Alexa, and 1% use another assistant.

This past week Microsoft released a whitepaper titled 2019 Voice Report: Consumer Adoption of Voice Technology and Digital Assistants that analyzed the findings of two separate consumer-focused online surveys. The first was conducted by Microsoft Market Intelligence and received over 2,000 global responses from March to June 2018 representing the U.S., U.K., Canada, Australia, and India. The second survey built off of findings from the initial survey, and Microsoft used an online research tool called AskSuzy in order to engage with 5000 U.S. consumers in February 2019. The report is available for free download here.

The Biggest Findings: Smartphone-Based Assistants Have the Most Users and Privacy Concerns Are Impacting Adoption


Image Credit: Microsoft 2019 Voice Report

Some of the most obvious headlines from the report were that Amazon Alexa is not the most used assistant, despite its overwhelming smart speaker market share. Rather, Siri and Google Assistant are reportedly the most used voice assistants, largely due to their reach on smartphones, something that Alexa does not have. Both Siri and Google Assistant are able to take advantage of Apple iOS and Android OS dominance in the smartphone industry.

The report also found that a lack of trust is a significant factor hindering the usage of smart speakers and digital assistants, a topic Voicebot has discussed in the past. Data security (52%) and passive listening (41%) were reported as top concerns. Fourteen percent of respondents actually took the time to handwrite that they did not trust the company behind the voice assistant. Microsoft did take the time to point out in the report that this kind of concern is actually pretty typical with the adoption of new technology, which Voicebot has often stated in the past.

Microsoft’s report offered some depth in surveying about consumer privacy concerns – taking the time to also gauge how willing users were to share their personal information with digital assistants. Respondents said they were willing to share non-personally identifiable information, or non-PII, data, such as age and gender, for a quick reward, such as a discount. In an exchange for something of more substantial value, say automated purchasing or more concierge based services, respondents said they were willing to share more personal data such as their name, home address, or phone number. So it seems that while consumers are concerned about data privacy, they will exchange their data for specified benefits.

U.S. Smart Speaker Ownership Rises 40% in 2018 to 66.4 Million and Amazon Echo Maintains Market Share Lead Says New Report from Voicebot

Yes, Humans Behind Alexa and Other Voice Assistants are Listening to Some User Utterances. The Technology Requires it to Get Better.