Bullish prediction predicts 31 million Americans will "buy" their smart speakers in 2019

There is conflicting evidence regarding consumer adoption of smart speakers for research and commerce. Several surveys indicate growth but other data suggest that smart speakers did not appear as a trading platform. However, the eMarketer new eMarketer intelligent speaker purchase forecast paints a very optimistic picture of the future of "voicemail service".

[315 000 000]. The company claims that 31 million Americans "will buy via a smart speaker this year, up 31.6% from 2018." The company defines "shopping" in the broad sense as "browsing, searching for products and adding items to a shopping cart". eMarketer estimates that by the end of two years, the number of voice consumers will reach 38 million, with smart speaker owners doing more research on virtual assistant products.

EMarketer also states that 21 million people in the United States will make a purchase this year with the help of a smart speaker. The important caveat is that it will be almost entirely digital products: movies and music.

Shopping does not mean buying. There are now a considerable number of consumer surveys on the market that include "shopping" as a question. If eMarketer is defined broadly, as eMarketer, its forecasts are plausible, since there are more than 100 million smart speakers in American homes . The major American retailers also consider that shopping by voice will be a major phenomenon in the next three years. However, if the term "shopping" includes transactions, one should be cautious.

Another category poised to become potentially more profitable for smart speakers is the new order. Walmart developed a voice strategy for existing customers around ordering previously purchased groceries . (Kantar had previously stated that 12.6% of Google Home owners had ordered groceries with these devices.) Another potential growth category is take-out orders or deliveries. food from major restaurant franchises (eg, Domino's). This is another version of the reorganization.

Consumer behavior can tell a different story. There are now so many investigations that you can pick one to support the story you want to tell about the voice. A report published in 2018 by Voicebot.ai, for example, found that about 12% of smart speaker owners used the voicemail service each month. By mid-2018, this number was 16%. Again, there are reasons to be skeptical. (Smartphones deserve separate discussion on voice search and shopping.)

Yet a recent history of The Information suggests that actual consumer behavior is at odds with survey responses . The story quotes Uber as representing a more bearish trend: "Uber gets orders for just a few hundred trips a day via Alexa," said one informed person on the subject. This equates to less than 0.002% of the more than 15 million total trips that Uber provides per day. "

Why we should care. Despite the sale of millions of smart speakers and bullish forecasts, buying and trading did not really materialize as expected. This does not mean that they will not arrive or that voice search on smartphones will not really gain speed.

The central problem of this discussion is that we have no meaningful analysis or behavioral data. We only have surveys that may not be extrapolated to a larger population. Smart speaker platforms themselves also need to make improvements in usability (and address privacy issues ) to reach their full potential. In the end, virtual assistants will generate a significant amount of research, including product discovery and discovery. However, that day may be more distant than expected.

Currently, marketers should apply best practices of local and mobile SEO (there are certain specificities with Alexa and Google Assistant ), to test and experiment (with skills and voice actions) – preparing for the day when consumers will buy and buy in significant numbers via Alexa and Google Home.

About the Author

Greg Sterling is a collaborative editor at Search Engine Land. He researches and writes on the links between digital commerce and offline commerce. He is also Vice President of Strategy and Knowledge for the Local Search Association. Follow him on on Twitter or find him at the address Google+ .

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