Why isn’t voice commerce taking off?
eMarketer last week lowered its outlook for smart speaker buyers (consumers making a purchase via a smart speaker) and smart speaker users (consumers using smart speakers for any purpose).
In a statement, eMarketer said it believes smart speaker usage still faces hurdles over payment security and privacy.
Hub Entertainment Research’s recently-released “The Case for Voice Control” study, based on a survey of 2,512 U.S. consumers, likewise found 59 percent of those who regularly use a smart speaker have concerns about privacy. Those concerns include the threats of unwanted listening (91 percent) and data being unknowingly collected (90 percent).
The heightened privacy concerns follow numerous stories of digital assistants eavesdropping in homes. European Union privacy watchdogs indicated last month that they’re working on ways to police the reach of digital assistants into private conversations.
eMarketer also points to the absence of screens on most smart speakers as an inhibitor. Although manufacturers are releasing smart speakers with screens, many users haven’t felt the need to upgrade.
“There’s a good deal of friction in the voice-based buying process because people can’t see what they’ll actually be purchasing unless they have a screen on their smart speaker,” said eMarketer principal analyst Victoria Petrock. “So, most of the purchases made today are reorders and things that don’t need to be inspected.”
On the positive side, eMarketer upped the estimates for the percentage of users listening to audio (81.1 percent) or making inquiries (77.8 percent) on smart speakers. Confirming other reports, however, eMarketer found consumers aren’t using the devices for advanced commands that might incorporate research and other shopping activities.
“Though there are thousands of smart speaker apps that do everything from let you order takeout to find recipes or play games, many consumers don’t realize that they need to take extra and more specific steps to utilize all capabilities,” said Ms. Petrock. “Instead, they stick with direct commands to play music, ask about the weather or ask questions, because those are basic to the device.”
- Purchases Via Smart Speakers Are Not Taking Off – eMarketer
- 2019 Voice Control – Hub Entertainment Research
- SUMO Heavy: Only 1 in 5 Consumers Have Shopped via Voice, But Voice Commerce Shows Promise – SUMO/PRNewswire
- Alexa devices maintain 70% market share in U.S. according to survey – Marketing Land
- Searching for facts, directions, local businesses are top digital assistant use cases, says survey – Search Engine Land
- Amazon’s Snooping on Alexa Chats Spurs EU Privacy Response – Bloomberg
- What makes voice assistants creepy? – RetailWire
DISCUSSION QUESTIONS: What do you see holding back the overall adoption of smart speakers as well as their use as a purchasing tool? Do you see friction in the shopping experience with smart speakers as a short or long term challenge?