Over 60% of Car Buyers That Have Used Voice Assistants Factor Availability into Purchase Decision

Over three-fifths of consumers that have used a voice assistant while driving say they factor in assistant availability when considering a new car purchase. This finding from the In-Car Voice Assistant Consumer Adoption Report 2020 rose slightly from a 2019 study when a nearly identical result was registered. The 2020 edition includes responses from a representative sample of 1,090 U.S. adults and was conducted in January of this year.

While 37% of drivers that have used voice in the car don’t consider the presence of an assistant when car shopping, 63% do so with 13% saying it is a significant consideration. Another 7.3% saying they won’t purchase a car that does not include their favored voice assistant. Eight percent of U.S. adults didn’t care what assistant was available in the car but it was important that the vehicle support voice interaction. Once a consumer uses voice in the car, they tend to want it in future automobiles.

Drivers’ purchasing decisions are increasingly influenced by the availability of enhanced technology features like voice assistants in the car.

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Consumer interest in voice assistant availability may be influenced by the rising use of smart speakers. Over 70% of smart speaker owners factor voice assistant availability into their car purchase decisions. This is consistent with other data that suggests voice use through smart speakers is a catalyst for using assistants outside the home as well.

An Increasing Emphasis on the Cabin Experience

Sentiment may also be influenced by advertising in recent years. In 2019, Mercedes-Benz dedicated an entire Super Bowl ad to promote its embedded Hey Mercedes assistant. However, automakers were promoting voice assistants even before then as data from a 2018 Voicebot consumer survey indicated. Sanjay Dhawan, CEO of Cerence, a sponsor of the 2020 study, commented:

“In the last several years, we’ve seen our automaker customers begin to prioritize the experience inside the car alongside the technical aspects of the driving experience. It’s obviously paying off as drivers’ purchasing decisions are increasingly influenced by the availability of enhanced technology features like voice assistants in the car.”

A Car Purchase “Tiebreaker”

The most used voice assistant type while driving in 2020 are the embedded assistants offered by automakers. That was followed by Bluetooth connections to smartphones which can be used to access Siri on iOS and Google Assistant for Android. Apple’s CarPlay was third. No single voice assistant is dominant in the car today with about 21% saying they have used more than one assistant while driving. Bradley Metrock, CEO of Score Publishing and host of the annual Voice of the Car Summit, said about the results:

“We’ve seen voice tech’s role in automotive purchasing decisions move swiftly and decisively into the ‘tiebreaker’ role. No one buys a car because it has Alexa or Google Assistant in it, but they absolutely will decide between one or more equivalent cars based on how the in-car voice assistant aligns with them. One result of this has been a move by some automakers to allow multiple voice assistants in the car, in an effort to eliminate the potential for lost sales.”

About 42% of consumers in the study said they would be more likely to use voice assistants while driving if they had access to multiple assistants with about 15% saying they would be “much more likely.” Automakers profiled in the report such as Mercedes, BMW, and Ford all enable multiple voice assistant connectivity options for drivers.

The finding of consumer car purchase criteria is one of 19 charts and tables in the 40-page report on voice used in the car. You can access the full study through the button below.

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