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The Other Person in The Room: How Consumers Use Voice Assistants

07 Feb 2018 Ann D'Adamo

in Media, Digital, Amazon

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Amazon Echo and Google Home were the hot holiday gifts this season and consumers didn’t allow them to sit in their boxes for long: the Amazon Alexa app was the most-downloaded app on Christmas and the following day and Google Home was number six. So, do consumers think their devices live up to the hype? Here’s what they say about their digital voice assistants.

She’s a Member of the Family

Fifty-three percent of device owners say speaking to a voice-activated speaker feels natural, and many say it feels like they’re talking to a friend (some report that they even say “please,” “thank you,” and “I’m sorry” to it).

She Helps Me Get Through My Day

Owners say that speaking to their virtual assistant (rather than having to type) helps them get things done more quickly and efficiently by allowing them to multi-task, empowers them to instantly get answers and information, and helps to make their daily routine easier. In fact, 65% of smart speaker owners say they wouldn’t want to go back to life without it.

Alexa’s The Life of the Party

Consumers put voice-activated speakers at the center of their homes—fifty-two percent of owners keep their smart speakers in their living rooms, 25% keep them in the bedroom, and 22% access them in the kitchen. And it seems Alexa has become the life of the party! Sixty-six percent of owners say they use their smart speaker to entertain family and friends. Her most-requested commands include playing music, answering questions, and telling jokes.  

Smart Speakers Are Changing Behaviors

Owners enjoy their smart speaker interactions so much that they are replacing time previously spent interacting with other media. Almost 40% said their smart speaker has replaced time spent with traditional radio, 34% said its reduced time spent with their smart phone, and 30% say they’re spending less time watching TV. Instead, 71% of smart speaker owners say they are listening to more audio through their device, including 28% who are listening to more talk and news programming. Smart speakers are even changing the way we’re interacting with our mobile phones; 44% report using the voice assistant on their phones more frequently since getting a smart speaker.

How are consumers using smart speakers? A day in the life of Alexa.

Ask any executive assistant and she’ll tell you her job is never done. Alexa knows the feeling. Here’s how users are engaging with smart speakers throughout the day.

5 a.m. – 9 a.m.                  Check traffic, weather, and news

9 a.m. – 3 p.m.                  Answer questions, add to to-do list, add to shopping list

5 p.m. – 7 p.m.                  Find restaurants, recipes/cooking requests, order food

7 p.m. – 9 p.m.                  Play games, send messages to other devices, tell children’s stories

9 p.m. – midnight             Control smart home devices, play audiobooks, set timers/alarms

How do consumers search on voice? They say, “Alexa, get me the best deal!”

Sixty-two percent of consumers who regularly use their voice-activated speaker say they are likely to buy something through their device within the next month. This is backed-up by research that finds that more than half of consumers say they’ve inquired about deals, sales, and promotions via their device. Almost a third of owners say they’ve added an item to their carts so they could review it later, 29% have researched an item they were interested in, and about a quarter of users have used their device to re-order previously purchased items. But they’re not just asking, here’s what they’re buying:

58% household supplies

51% electronics

48% health/beauty

45% pet food/supplies

42% groceries

28% home/garden

22% baby products

Who, What, Where?

In addition to shopping, consumers are seeking personalized tips and information to make their lives easier (48%), looking for information about upcoming events or activities (42%), obtaining information about local businesses such as location and hours (39%), and accessing customer service or support (38%).

Making Brand Connections

Forty-three percent of smart speaker owners say they would be interested in using skills from companies or brands they follow on social media. This presents an opportunity for marketers to develop connections that go beyond the scroll. Moreover, marketers can gain valuable insights from the data gathered through their brand/consumer interactions. Understanding how consumers are searching for products, the type of questions they’re asking, and when, can inform product development, packaging information, and provide invaluable feedback.

As technology and consumer behavior evolve, so must marketers. Women’s Marketing is always on the cusp of emerging trends and offering our clients rich insights into changing dynamics. Contact us today to learn more about our suite of marketing services, including Amazon marketing strategy.

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Sources: NPR & Edison Research The Smart Audio Report November 2017, Think With Google 5 Ways Voice Assistance is Shaping Consumer Behavior 2018, Think With Google OK, Marketers: Here’s what people are saying about their voice-activated assistants 2018

Media Digital Amazon