Will voice shopping ever take off without screens?
According to Juniper Research, global e-commerce sales conducted by voice assistants are expected to expand more than four-fold by 2023. Devices with screens, however, “will be imperative” to driving the growth by improving checkout efficiency.
Co-author Meike Escherich commented in a statement, “Voice assistant platforms must ensure that the user experience is so seamless that transactions are carried out via these platforms, rather than requiring additional devices.”
The report studied a wide range of voice assistants including those embedded in TVs, autos, wearables and mobile phones, as well as smart speakers.
The report authors encouraged leaders — Amazon.com, Apple and Google — to open up their platform-based commerce services to third-party retailers, in addition to leveraging their own ecosystems to monetize capabilities. A key hurdle to attracting third-party retailers, however, was again found to be the absence of a screen in many smart speakers, limiting the contextual information presented to users.
Finally, growing the size and accessibility of content domain libraries is expected to be critical to increasing voice commerce’s value proposition to third-party retailers and generating new revenue streams for voice assistant platforms.
The global installed base of smart speakers is expected to rise by over 50 percent between 2021 and 2023 to support monetization potential. While smartphone-based voice assistants will be the dominant usage, the rising number of standalone smart speakers means that potential for commerce is growing rapidly, concludes Juniper.
Vixen Lab’s just-released Voice Consumer Index 2021 study found only one-quarter of U.S. consumers use voice activated technology to make purchases either regularly (11 percent) or sometimes (14 percent), although 40 percent were using it to find information about brands.
Last November, eMarketer downgraded its forecast for shopping from smart speakers due to low adoption rates. The lack of a screen that makes it difficult to see what’s being purchased was cited as an inhibitor. Victoria Petrock, eMarketer principal analyst, said in a statement, “While brands haven’t yet cracked the code on how to drive more voice shopping and buying, the number of voice assistant users is rising, and most industry practitioners believe voice has significant untapped marketing potential.”
- Juniper Research: Voice Assistant Transaction Values to Grow by Over 320% by 2023, but Content Libraries Must Expand – Juniper Research/Business Wire
- Voice Assistants: Monetisation Strategies, Competitive Landscape & Market Forecasts 2021-2026 – Juniper Research
- There’s still lackluster enthusiasm for shopping and buying via voice – eMarketer
- Millennials Will Lead The Voice Commerce Revolution – Pymnts
- Voice Consumer Index 2021. – Vixen Labs
- How Are Americans Using Voice Assistants? – MarketingCharts
- Smart home spending to take a temporary hit before surging – RetailWire
- COVID-19 may push retailers to use voice assistants instead of touch screens – RetailWire
- Does Alexa need a screen? – RetailWire
DISCUSSION QUESTIONS: Do you agree that the lack of a screen is the primary barrier to the adoption of voice assistant technology for purchases? What’s holding back your own voice-shopping purchases? Will voice shopping be more about discovery and research or convenience?