Voice assistants such as Amazon Alexa and Google Assistant will become a dominant mode of consumer interaction over the next three years, with shoppers planning to ditch websites and retail outlets in favour of the technology.
That is according to a new report by Capgemini’s Digital Transformation Institute – Conversational Commerce: Why Consumers Are Embracing Voice Assistants in Their Lives – which highlights how consumers are using VAs and the opportunities this creates for businesses to connect with their customers.
The report, which surveyed more than 5,000 consumers in the US, UK, France and Germany, also found that those who use the technology will be willing to spend 500% more than they currently do via this mode of interaction.
While only a quarter (24%) of respondents would currently rather use a voice assistant than a website, in the next three years, this figure will rise to 40%. Close to a third – 31% – said they will prefer a voice assistant interaction to visiting a shop or a bank branch, compared to 20% today.
VA users are currently spending 3% of their total consumer expenditure via voice assistants, but this is expected to increase to 18% in the next three years, reducing share of physical stores (45%) and websites (37%).
While streaming music and seeking information remain the most popular usages for VAs today, over a third of respondents (35%) have also used them to buy products such as groceries, homecare and clothes. Currently, 28% of users have already used a VA to make a payment or send money, but 44% of users have expressed interest in using the technology for banking transactions as more smart speakers enable functions such as credit card payments via voice.
Consumers who use VAs are very positive about their experience, with 71% being satisfied with their performance. In particular, 52% of consumers cite convenience, the ability to do things hands-free (48%), and automation of routine shopping tasks (41%) as the biggest reasons why they prefer using VAs over mobile apps and websites.
The ability for the VA to understand their human user is also critical; 81% of users want the technology to understand their diction and accent. The report also revealed that VAs are most popular among 33-45 year olds, while close to 1 in 5 (17%) have an annual pre-tax household income of more than $100,000 (£74,000).
Capgemini chief experience officer of the Digital Customer Experience practice Mark Taylor said: “Voice assistants will completely revolutionise how brands and consumers interact with each other. What makes voice assistants so exciting is that they are woven into the fabric of our lives, offering a simplicity and richness of interaction that consumers have never experienced before.
“Brands that are able to capitalise on the huge consumer appetite around voice assistants will not only build closer relationships with their customers, but create significant growth opportunities for themselves.”
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