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Report: 31M Americans Will Shop by Smart Speaker in 2019

Shopping by voice has a brighter future than ever according to a new report from eMarketer. The market data aggregator predicts that 31 million Americans will shop by smart speaker this year, a sharp increase from the prediction of just 22.7 million in a December report.

Upward Curve

The 31 million Americans expected to shop with a smart speaker is 31.6 percent higher than the 23.6 million eMarketer measured in 2018. That may partly be because of the broad definition eMarketer uses for shopping, encompassing “browsing, researching products and adding things to a shopping cart.” EMarketer forecasts the number of people that will actually buy something this year with a smart speaker at a smaller 21 million Americans.

Roughly two-thirds of those that use smart speakers for part of the buying process will also complete a full transaction at some point. That is very close to Voicebot data published in the Smart Speaker Consumer Adoption Report 2019. That survey of over 1,000 U.S. adults found that about 63% of consumers that used smart speakers to search for product information eventually completed a purchase by voice as well.

eMarketer also expects, the number of voice shoppers to grow, with 38 million Americans, about 40 percent of smart speaker owners, using voice for some shopping by 2021. The findings also fit with other surveys, such as a recent SUMO report, which found a similar percentage of smart speaker owners use the devices to search for products even if they conclude the transactions through another channel.

Entertainment and Reorders

According to eMarketer, most of what people are actually buying via smart speakers are digital entertainment products like music and movies. A fifth of Americans said they had ordered electronic entertainment by voice, by far the single largest type of purchase.

In terms of physical products, eight percent said they ordered groceries and other household products by voice. That matches with other Voicebot’s findings that household goods and food are the most popular purchases by voice.

Whether the optimism of the new report will be borne out in real transactions is still up for debate. For companies hoping to take part in voice commerce, the key challenge will be working out how to find and connect to voice shoppers. There’s no denying that voice shopping is an expanding part of digital commerce, but the details of who will use it, how they will use it, and what platforms they will carry out their shopping on are still nebulous.


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