Voice Assistants Redefine US Shopping Experience

Voice-assistants such as Amazon’s Alexa and Apple’s Siri have ushered in a new era of customer interactions with technology. Individuals can use voice-assistants on a range of smart devices (e.g. smart speakers, smart phones etc.) to carry out a multitude of tasks. From asking for directions to shopping – voice-assistants have enabled consumers to acquire information and make decisions in a quicker manner than ever before.


Focusing specifically on shopping with voice-assistants, management strategy consultants ‘OC&C’, estimate an astonishing $40 billion will be spent on U.S. voice commerce by 2022. This trend is perhaps unsurprising, as 55% of American consumers already claim to ‘enjoy’ shopping via voice-activated devices, as per statistics from digital agency ‘Salmon’.

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Interested in the rise of voice shopping, online marketplace OnBuy.com analyzed findings from ‘VoiceBot.AI’, who surveyed 1,203 U.S. consumers to better understand the products and services they buy the most using a voice-assistant.

OnBuy.com found that everyday household items (25.11%) like cleaning detergents are the most ordered products by Americans through voice-assistants. Thereafter, U.S. consumers equally purchase apparel and entertainment (e.g. music, movies etc.) from voice-assistants at 21.15% each.


Interestingly, 14.54% are confident enough to buy consumer electronics using a voice-assistant. Surprisingly, 11.89% of Americans currently sort their grocery shop out via a voice-assistant. Likewise, the same amount utilizes a voice-assistant to arrange and book their travel plans (11.89%). 



Contrastingly, Americans are least likely to use a voice-assistant to locate and give their business to a local service which they may need, such as a hair cutting or dry-cleaning outlet – with only 3.52% presently doing so. Slightly above, just 7.05% use a voice-assistant to order a prepared meal and/or drink (i.e. collect or get a takeaway delivered).



Also, OnBuy sought to determine the varied attitudes Americans have towards shopping with a voice-assistant. From this, it was discovered that the aspect consumers most like about using a voice-assistant to shop, is that it is hands free (27.31%). About 20.7% appreciate the convenience of voice shopping, as they can do other things whilst using it to get products or services. 



Despite much of the public being unaware of the offers provided by companies such as Amazon and Google exclusively for their voice shoppers – 10.57% have managed to take advantage of a deal or coupon on a specific voice-assistant to attain a desired product or service.


Contrastingly, when considering the main apprehensions people have when using a voice-assistant to buy goods or services – a lot of them do not feel entirely comfortable shopping by voice (31.72%). Maybe an expected outcome, given how accustomed individuals have become to shopping with a screen and keyboard on smart devices. This notion is reflected by 21.15% of Americans not warming to voice shopping because there is no screen and 16.74% believing they can type faster to get what is wanted. Both these stats particularly reflective of those alluding to smart speakers (no screen or keyboard) as the device they have been using a voice-assistant on to conduct a purchasing activity.


With issues around cyber-security and personal data protection more prominent than ever before, 23.35% don’t feel it is safe enough to disclose payment information over a voice-assistant when wanting to treat themselves to some retail therapy. As voice-shopping becomes more of a staple in the retail landscape, voice technology will inevitably be integrated into the in-store experience. As this plays out, consumers already have their preferences on how they would like this to happen.


For 31.1% of Americans, they would like to use a voice-assistant to help them locate products as they navigate inside a store. Subsequently, 29.5% want a voice-assistant to inform them of any available discounts or deals which will allow them to save money while in-store. 25.5% would access a voice-assistant to compare products – for instance, health-conscious consumers who want to easily compare the nutritional contents of similar food and drink goods.  


Cas Paton, the Managing Director of OnBuy.com commented, “Voice has established itself as the next major frontier in commerce. As individuals become more familiar with the technology, the more trust and confidence they will gain to carry out activities such as shopping via a voice-assistant. This study certainly shows that Americans are already using voice to research and purchase goods from several product and service categories. With the technology only set to improve, voice search will gradually evolve to provide a seamless experience and become a reliable shopping avenue for consumers.” For more details, visit OnBuy.

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