The launch of smart, interactive devices with voice capabilities by Google and Amazon, along with the consumer-rooted custom of using voice with their mobile, has significantly increased the adoption of voice assistants. According to a study by Voicebot, in the United States one in four adults has a voice assistant in their possession, and this figure is expected to grow by 30% by the end of 2018.

Consumers are connecting to the new voice-enabled ecosystem, and brands have the opportunity to approach them. An example of this is the financial sector, where we are constantly fighting for profitability and improvement in the customer experience, voice assistants allow companies to manage these requirements by acting as a single point of contact. Financial services firms can integrate data and information from a variety of sources, create customized products and services, and present them to customers through a single device—your voice assistant. In the ecosystem of voice-enabled smart devices, a comprehensive voice assistant strategy is critical.

The different phases

The introduction of virtual assistants into everyday life has been divided into two phases. The first, the smartphone era, although it can now be considered a complete stage, this was mainly characterized by being dominated by SIRI’ virtual assistant of Apple, although later they joined Alexa from Amazon and the Google Assistant. They stood out for offering basic information, which was soon followed by other communication, entertainment services and tools.

The second phase, which we are in now, is characterized by devices that go beyond the exchange of words through a smart speaker. Smartwatches, smart glasses, IoT devices and many more examples show manufacturers’ determination to bring voice interactivity to their devices.

The first phase introduced consumers to the idea of using voice to perform tasks. The second phase is to make voice a mode of generalized interaction that has more capabilities and is used more frequently in more devices and contexts.

Voice is more prevalent on smartphones than on other devices

Smart speakers may have led the recent popularization of voice, however, 58.2% people still use the voice assistants of their smartphones.

The number of adults who have used voice assistants implanted in smartphones reaches 146.6 million compared to the 50 million million that have been decided by smart speakers.

However, the data also confirms that smart speaker owners are more active on a daily basis than users who use smartphone voice assistants.

  • Siri leads the adoption:

iOS and Android have a similar market share in the United States, which may surprise you abroad where more than 85% of the market leads Android. However, Apple has always been strong In the U.S. despite (or perhaps because of) its strict control over the product and its high price.

When it comes to voice assistants on smartphones, Siri is ahead of the rest, despite the opinion of critics who don’t believe siri’s performance is superior to Google’s assistant.

Both Apple and Google say their voice assistants are available on more than 500 million devices, mostly smartphones. However, Apple claims that Siri has been used on those 500 million devices, while Google is focused on using the term “available”.

Owning a smartphone does not automatically become users of the voice assistant deployed on your phone. In the United States, between 20-30% of all smartphones sold belong to Samsung, however, this has not translated into a significant figure for your voice assistant. Only 4% of the adult Americans say they’ve interacted with Bixby. Compared to the 4% that Cortana has used or the 17% that has been chosen by Alexa, none of which have a smartphone on the market.

  • Three out of five consumers use voice assistants with at least one month’ basis:

Almost all smartphone owners (96.5%) claim to have tried at least the voice assistant built into their mobile devices. It should be noted that the 61.5% has made use of the voice assistant on a monthly basis and that one in four consumers uses a voice assistant on their smartphone daily.

Given these figures, it is difficult to see voice interaction as predominantly on other devices such as smart speakers, since, the widespread use of voice by the consumer began on smartphones and today is used by a large most users regularly.

  • Everyday questions stand out from entertainment:

Users report that overview search tasks are ranked ahead of entertainment when it comes to using voice assistant on smartphones. More than 50% takes advantage of voice search every month.

The next two most common monthly habits include finding an address and locating a restaurant, both of which stand out for being performed while the user is on the move.

However, it is surprising to experts that product search is in third place ahead of the other entertainment-focused options.

  • Communications and alerts lead the productivity category:

When it comes to more productive tasks, using the voice assistant to initiate communications is the most common. Two-thirds of consumers have used a voice assistant to initiate a phone call. In addition, almost 40% have sent text messages by voice.

Following this line we find the alert category, where about 31% of consumers reported the use of voice to configure both alarms and timers.

The following two use cases in the ranking involve device navigation, by just over 20% of consumers, who use voice to open an app or review its calendar.

Finally there are the categories of transactional control, where the 12% of the users use their mobile device to regularly control smart home devices and almost 11% to perform banking transactions.

The most common use of voice in smartphones occurs while consumers are driving. With a 62%, driving outperforms relaxation at home (38%) and household chores (26%) by a large margin.

Four of the first five uses of voice assistants occur in situations where the user is performing activities where the eyes, hands or both are used. Voice allows users to interact with their device at a time when it would be inconvenient or unwise to use touch. However, it is interesting that the second most common situation is to relax at home when the voice is a mere convenience rather than a necessity.

All this data shows that consumers see voice assistants on smartphones as a useful device, first and foremost. Since the tasks performed can be easily performed in the most traditional way through touch, however, the use of voice in the case of smartphones is shifting to the touch.

These figures contrast with those of smart speakers where entertainment and transactional controls are the main drivers of use. It can be a reflection of the context in which voice is used on these devices, while representing areas where usage can grow.

Smart speakers don’t fall behind

Despite the popularity of smartphone voice assistants, smart speakers have continued their steady growth during 2018. For example, this increase means that 22.9% of the U.S. adult population has such a device, based on more than 252 million inhabitants.

  • Amazon leads, though, Google and Apple keep growing:

Amazon Echo continues to lead the participation in the smart speaker market with 64.6%, while Google has achieved a significant turnout since 2017, reaching 19.6%, followed by Apple which debuted in May 2018 and which has achieved 4.5%. This “strong” input is mainly due to Apple leading the premium smart speaker segment.

The rest of the market is grouped into the “other” category with an 11.3% of all smart speaker users. This category is currently led by brands such as Sonos, JBL and Harman Kardon. It has recently been expanded to include Bose, Bang & Olufsen and a variety of other devices that add speaker capabilities. These brands have just arrived on the market and their impact will not be measurable until the end of the year.

That said, Alexa and Google Assistant are sharing approximately 95% in the market with Siri. So you could talk about duopoly.

  • 79% of the smart speaker owners use them monthly:

When new technologies emerge there is always the question as to whether it will be a fashion or whether they will have staying power. In the case of smart speakers it seems clear that their permanence will be long. Since, more than 79% of users report using the devices monthly and 45.5% uses them daily. Interestingly, the 6.7% claims to have never used such devices.

The number of smart speakers increased sharply between January and September rising from 1.8 to 2.2 devices per household. This change means that nearly half of U.S. smart speaker owners. have devices in multiple rooms inside their house.

Another reason smart speakers are expected to be not a passing fad is reflected in additional sales, because when users adopt a device, they typically add additional access points to make the voice available in more rooms. In addition, the low price of smart speakers makes this expansion easy to perform.

Who uses voice assistants the most?

From the beginning, adults have been named as the main users of voice assistants, however, the concept of “adult” encompasses several generations. According to Capgemini’s Conversational Commerce Suvey report in the United States, United Kingdom, France and Germany, 50.7% consumers said they used voice assistants.

Survey data indicate that Generation Y (also known as Millennials) are the primary users of voice technology. Approximately Generation Y 74 uses voice assistants as a new means of trading for functions such as searching for information and purchasing.

In addition, as Generation Y customers enthusiastically embrace the new resources that arise, they are expected to soon be one of the most profitable segments. Becoming a useful tool to direct this segment.

In the United States, along with Generation Y (89.1%), Generation X (68.4%) and Baby Boomers (49.3%) have been the most profitable segments, driving the mass adoption of voice assistants.

Customers with higher purchasing power showed greater adoption (67.6%), however, an increase in low-cost options has meant that customers with less purchasing power (45.9%) are also eligible to buy a smart speaker.

Clearly, digital consumers across the board have a strong interest in voice-activated devices. The ease, intimacy and affordability of voice assistants makes their way into every home.

Conclusions

In recent years, we have witnessed the rapid adoption of voice assistants around the world. Not only at the business level but also at the private level. As a result, interactions between users and voice assistants are growing.

Smart speakers have increased their sales, however, voice assistants built into smartphones remain the most used worldwide. It is interesting for companies that are interested in providing direct communication with their customers, which take this technology into account.

It is vitally important that companies consider a comprehensive strategy, in which they identify impactful use cases using voice as a channel and start connecting their offerings.

Voice strategy should be part of companies’ overall digital strategy, rather than a single, independent strategy. The experience of voice assistants should be integrated into the overall customer journey, as the customer will be directed to the company through different channels according to their preferences.

For financial institutions, they should make sure to include this voice channel in their overall omnichannel strategy and drive personalized conversations. They will require new capabilities to bring a unified customer experience strategy through digital channels by weaving voice channels with general channels.