Research shows changing consumer attitudes towards voice assistants

Vixen Labs has collaborated with the Linux Foundation’s Open Voice Network to release the Voice Consumer Index 2021 (VCI), exploring consumer attitudes and behaviours to voice assistant technology and how it can be used across several different sectors.

Voice assistant technology has been around for about a decade with Apple releasing Siri in 2011, Google’ Voice Search launched in 2021, and Amazon Alexa in 2013. The technology has come a long way since then and now, 34% of consumers in the UK claim to use voice assistants every day.

The research analysed how people are using voice assistant technology and it shows that behaviours align with the marketing funnel. Users move from awareness (80% search about products) to purchase and retention (41% of users have made a purchase through voice).

Voice assistant technology is used across several industries and people in the UK, US and Germany were asked about their top priority voice-assisted tasks across different industries. For example, in banking and finance, an average of 32% across the 6,000 people surveyed identified ‘check my bank balance’ as their top priority.

Results from the survey show small differences in behaviour between the three countries: 21% of US consumers say ‘pay a bill’ is their top banking and finance voice-assisted task, compared to just 15% in the UK and 17% in Germany. This switches in other areas such as German users are more open to using the technology to find a doctor or specialist than those from the US or UK.

Another key finding of the VCI shows that most voice users operate the technology in multiple locations: on their phone (both in and out of the home), on smart speakers (66% use Amazon Echo), and in the car. The research also stipulates that users want more support from brands and creators. The majority (76% in the UK) rely on trial and error to find the experiences they want.

Many are using voice assistants to ask questions (over 90% of users have searched using voice), hinting that voice assistants are a new platform for search, SEO and SEM. The other highest uses are controlling music (73% of users) and checking the weather (80%).

Privacy is the biggest concern, with four in ten of those who do not utilise voice assistant technology stating it as their main reason why they have not adopted it.

“Voice assistant technology has advanced massively since we said hey to Siri 10 years ago,” said James Poulter, CEO and co-founder of Vixen Labs. “The Voice Consumer Index not only highlights just how many people use the technology in everyday life, but also shows that these users are eager to see its true potential.”

He continued: “Parallels can be drawn from the early days of the search engine and social media to show the opportunity available to brands that utilise this technology effectively, regardless of industry. Currently there is a lot of white space for them to move into; the customer base is ready and waiting, but in order to tap into this new marketing channel, brands need to optimise, create and integrate their products and services with voice technology.”

The Voice Consumer Index 2021, along with all findings from the research, can be accessed here.

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