Voice commerce gains momentum

A quarter of people who own a smart speaker have bought items via voice and one-sixth say they make purchases monthly, with this new mode of eCommerce gaining more traction daily. 

The top three categories for voice-enabled shopping are entertainment, clothing and everyday household items, according to a report by Voicebot.ai and voice platform developer Voysis. The study also found that Apple’s Siri was the most widely used voice assistant on phones.

Other research offers a conflicting outlook on voice assistant use and its future prospects. Capgemini predicts that within three years 40% of consumers will use a voice assistant instead of an app or website. Episerver estimates 39% of consumers own a smart speaker but 60% never use it to browse the internet. OC&C Strategy Consultants forecast voice commerce will be worth $40 billion annually in 2022 versus $2 billion currently.

By getting familiar with the likes of Siri on their mobile phone, consumers are becoming more receptive to making voice-based purchases. Three-quarters of iPhone users have tried Siri, while 43% of Android phone users have given Google Assistant a go.

Among voice commerce converts, Google Assistant was most popular, followed by Amazon’s Alexa.

More than a quarter of American adults have access to a smart speaker, which are most commonly located in the kitchen or lounge. Alexa has sold twice as many units than Google Assistant, but Google’s is catching up fast, accounting for 27% of installed devices today versus 18% in January.

Smart speakers’ growing popularity is spurring a response from retailers, with 53% saying they plan to invest in voice over the next 12 months.