Voice Consumer Statistics: How Voice Shapes Your Customer Behavior [VCI Research]

Man with megaphone to represent Voice Consumer StatisticsWant the latest voice consumer statistics to better understand your audience?

Then we’ve got you covered with our analysis of the 2021 Voice Consumer Use Research (aka: VCI 2021).

Why?
To understand how your customers use voice-first devices and their functionality.

Conducted by Delineate, this Voice Market Research surveyed 2,000 individuals in the US, the UK and Germany, for a total of 6,000 respondents. As a seasoned market researcher, I give this level of data collection a big thumbs up! (Hat tip: Open Voice Network, Vixen Labs and Pragmatic Digital.)

Unlike most publicly available research conducted online, this information used a sufficiently large sample size to be is statistically valid. Further, they included people who don’t use voice devices.

Jon SteinThe Executive Director of the Open Voice Network, Jon Stine, explains:

“Voice will soon be a primary way consumers connect to the digital world and a primary way digital marketers will connect with actual consumers…. It’s time to get ready.”

So the resulting voice consumer statistics provide solid information upon which to base the business case to add or increase voice to your marketing.

 

Voice Consumer Statistics: What Do You Need to Know Now?

While voice assistants have almost 100% awareness, on average, about 3 out 5 respondents USE voice functionality. More telling: about 1 in 5 voice consumers use voice devices multiple times a day.

1 in 5 consumers uses voice functionality multiple times per day. While 2 out of 5 consumers never use it according to Vixen Labs.Click To Tweet

Voice Part of Daily Life

In the US, consumers of all ages use voice assistants both on smart speakers and on smartphones.  

US voice usage spread across all age groups

Unfortunately, the Voice Consumer Index doesn’t show average use across each country. In addition, they didn’t ask respondents to distinguish between their use of voice on a Google
voice assistant on their phones versus on their smart speakers.
Further, they assumed all Siri voice use took place on a phone, yet Apple computer and tablet owners can easily use Siri as shown below.

Siri Display on Mac Air in upper right hand corner

Don’t forget that your computer can talk and perform voice searches

Since younger generations are attached to their smartphones and smart speakers tend to be family devices, it’s no surprise that Siri ranks higher among 18 to 34 year olds in the US.

Actionable Voice Marketing Tips:

  • Make your voice content marketing, other communications and promotions available across all voice and audio platforms. Include options for Alexa, Siri and Google powered devices. Transforming content from one format or ecosystem to another takes less work and cost than creating new content. So it reaches more people at lower cost per piece of content.
  • Publish key references and links to owned media in each piece of voice or audio content to drive visitors to your site. Or, republish the content on your website or blog. Jennifer  Lehner does this with her Front Row CEO>Case Study-How To Promote Voice Content Marketing On Owned Media-Jen Lehner
  • Transcribe audio content into text to reach non-voice content consumers.

Where Does Your Audience Use Voice Assistants?

Home is where the voice is!

“More than 2 in 5 people speaks to a voice assistant via smart speakers and smartphones in the home!” —HeidiCohen Click To Tweet

 

Where consumers use voice assistants

Be prepared for your voice-first audience when they’re on-the-go. This improves your ability  to enter the consideration set with “Near Me” searches and at retail information checking since:

  • 29% of respondents use voice assistants on their phone outside of the home and
  • 18% of respondents use voice assistants at retail.

Also, don’t limit your thinking to smartphones and smart speakers when it comes to voice. Since 26% of people use smart earphones or headphones. In addition, consumers use kiosks and other out-of-home voice-enabled devices.

In addition consumers use voice functionality on tablets, computers, smart watches, televisions, in-store kiosks and more. Bear in mind that there’s no marketing implication when a consumer says, “Hey Google turn on the lights.” (At least after you’ve bought the devices.)

For example, in New York City, phone booths have been replaced by these free standing out-of-home advertising locations. They have telephony and allow users to recharge their smartphones.NYC Out of Home Advertising via LINKNYC

It’s important to note that in the “Where US Consumers Use Voice Assistants” chart above, the color represents different responses from the other charts in the VCI research. As a marketer, take care to use consistent legends and representations in a piece of content. Otherwise your audience can misinterpret it. 

Further, this question wasn’t as clear as it could be. While about 30% of people use voice assistants in cars, it’s not clear whether they use their smartphone or a manufacturer installed automotive device. Also, other people may hear the voice commands and information in addition to the driver.

For example, Mercedes Benz uses Houndify to create their own proprietary voice communications and controls to protect their audience’s personal information.

Mercedes In Car Speech Recognition Dashboard

Mercedes Benz owner controlling vehicle with smartphone

Mercedes Benz Dashboard in Car with Voice Functionality

Mercedes Benz Dashboard with speech recognition built in

Voice Assistant Statistics: Why Does Your Audience Use Voice Assistants?

No surprise—Most consumers use voice assistants to perform native audio functions! The highest use cases are to check the weather (56%), to play music (55%) and to make a call (44%).

Voice Consumer Statistics: Reasons

Why US Consumers Use Voice Assistants Chart via VCI

Roughly a third of US consumers use voice assistants to automate and integrate use of other technology. Specifically, they use voice assistants to:

  • Automate time saving tasks (35%):
  • Integrate and control household technology (29%):
  • Find their phone (28%); and 
  • Control their television (26%).

Again about one in ten used their voice assistant to make a purchase, mostly to book tickets. Based on my experience with our voice-enabled television through an Amazon Alexa Firestick, these tickets are most likely for entertainment and sports events as well as subscriptions that are cross-promoted. [Note: ‘Regularly’ and ‘sometimes’ categories were combined.] 

Actionable Voice Marketing Tips:

  • Enable connected and voice-first devices to access your voice assistants to improve efficiency for your customers. Include smartphone use. Also be prepared to support other brand’s products.
  • Provide and promote your on-boarding content to help new owners to connect their devices to their voice assistants and smartphones. Where possible, make your instructions and tutorials easy-to-use and add videos. Also, link to this information on your product pages, purchase receipts and FAQ pages.

Voice Buyer Journey Statistics: Why Add Voice Search to Your Marketing?

91% of voice consumers ALREADY use voice search for purchase related activities.

No surprise the biggest use cases evolved from native audio options such as radio. (Hat tip: Janice Mandel)

They include:

  • 71% check weather;
  • 66% listen to music;
  • 54% get news; and
  • 53% want entertainment.

Voice Search by catgegory

  • 16% of consumers look for brand information using voice search regularly and 24% use it on occasions.
  • 37% of customers regularly ask a question of a search engine while another 28% use it occasionally.
  • 22% of consumers use voice search for product or service information regularly and 28% use it occasionally.
  • 17% of customers use voice search to find information on local businesses while 22% of customers search for local business information occasionally. Translation: “Near Me” searches.  As Google Trends shows, these searches continue to increase. interest in near-me searches over time

Additionally, don’t overlook other types of similar forms of search that your prospects and customers may use beyond talking to their voice-first device. These search-related options include maps,  YouTube (which is audio with images), Yelp, TripAdvisor, Ratings and Reviews sites including Amazon, Yext (voice search specialists) and others depending on your business category.

Bottom line:

Voice search is a marketing MUST-HAVE or your prospective audience can’t hear you.Click To Tweet

 

US voice activities along customer journey

Actionable Voice Marketing Tips:

  • Make your business visible locally via “Google My Business. This is a no brainer and helps you to appear for “Near Me” searches including voice. Also include the physical address and phone number of your business on your website to attract on-the-go prospects.

Voice Commerce: How Does Your Target Customer Shop With Voice?

Waiting for voice commerce? Don’t. Because 1 in 10 US customers already use voice commerce. Click To Tweet

While the VCI Research explicitly says “Making Purchases”, the purchase phase of voice commerce can include a number of different actions beyond paying for your products and services. Among them are:

  • Put products into your shopping cart. For example, many people use their smart assistant to create a shopping list by adding products to their basket as they’re needed. For example, when you finish a box of cereal, you add it to your shopping list via a voice assistant. If you have an Amazon Alexa and shop at Whole Foods, you can review the list and order. Or, print out the list and take it to a physical supermarket.
  • Confirm purchase order using saved purchase details or add new ones.
  • Purchase in-app or online products such as video subscriptions via an Amazon Firestick with Alexa (aka: Smart TV device.)
  • Track your order through the business’s operation and delivery to your home. Due to Amazon’s backend integration, they have the most control over every step of the process.

What Amazon’s Advertising Might Means 

Depending on the voice-first device your customer uses, your organization may have difficulty getting heard without related paid promotion. Since Amazon is the third largest online advertising platform after Google and Facebook.

Amazon’s US ad digital revenue last year grew to $15.73 billion, up 52.5% from 2019. While its share of the US digital ad market grew 10.3% in 2020, up from 7.8% in 2019. Further its share of the US digital ad remains small relative to Google’s 28.9% share and Facebook’s 25.2% share.

Amazon’s search ad business alone will grow to $14.53 billion in 2021, increasing its share of the US search ad spending to 19%, up from 13.3% in 2019. Almost 90% of Amazon’s ad revenue comes from  ads on its e-commerce platform. (Source: Wall Street Journal April 6, 2021)

Amazon increases share of US advertising market in 2021

Amazon continues to increase share of US online advertising market.

In the example below, Walmart has a relationship with Google Assistant.

Voice Commerce

Actionable Voice Marketing Tip:

  • Assess whether you need to add paid promotion to increase your brand’s ability to get heard across voice-first devices. Bear in mind you may need to target your promotion based on your audience’s listening preferences.

What Type of Concerns Voice Consumers Have

Voice use provides an opportunity for marketers who are careful with their audience’s data security and privacy to stand out. About 4 out of 5 respondents get useful information from their smart assistant and can use it. 

Privacy is a concern but not a barrier for users

Roughly half of US voice consumers use voice for its speed over text (#ThankYouFatThumbs!) and to search. Click To Tweet

 

Voice Consumer Privacy and Data Security Statistics

While US consumer concern about privacy and trust ranks high, Voice Consumer Index data reveals that:

  • 1 out of 2 consumers have concerns about privacy.
  • 1 out of 3 don’t trust voice assistants. Further, this concern is reflected in their use of smart assistants. Owners turn off their voice devices when not in use to reduce being monitored by the device. Also, they don’t use voice devices in public.

Privacy, trust & safety barriers for non-voice assistant users.

So, what can you do as a marketers?
Understand that the human voice carries more information than other forms of communication. This includes demographic and other factors.

Therefore, act responsibly with privacy and data security across your organization. Because Edelman’s Trust Barometer revealed that:

  • 61% of consumers trust businesses, specifically their employers, in contrast to government and media. The good news: Consumers consider your content marketing more believable and trustworthy than other sources! So consider your audience’s choice of information more broadly. Translation: Think beyond your direct competitors.

Trust in all information sources at record lows

While privacy and data security are the biggest hurdles for voice marketers across the US, the UK and Germany, most people don’t realize how much voice and other personal information they already share. For example, most businesses record customer service calls and others take voiceprints to identify customers. Also, major global corporations often share information internally such as Google Search and YouTube.

And, there are cameras everywhere. Not only Google Maps/Earth, but also, many private and public organizations are watching to monitor security and provide access to events. Here’s a live feed from Times Square in New York City that anyone can view.

Actionable Voice Marketing Tips:

  • Transform your non-voice content marketing into voice formats. This will keep your content marketing visible over time and make it accessible to a wider range of individuals in different contexts.
  • Explain to visitors, prospects and customers when your organization records conversations, what they’re used for and how long you will keep the information. Often, it’s used internally for security and training purposes. But— protect your audiences’ privacy and personal information or you’ll lost their trust.

Voice Marketing Opportunities You Can Exploit!

Further, astute marketers can persuade their audience, especially prospects and customers, to use voice options because consumers want more from voice assistants. Notably, functions that save them time otherwise spent on tedious or organizational tasks. Key voice consumer statistics include:

  • 45% of voice consumers want to know “what else I can do with voice?”
  • 42% of these consumers say”I want to do more with voice-enabled devices”;
  • 39% of voice consumers want voice-first devices to help them to multitask; and
  • 34% of voice consumers want voice devices to help them to be more organized.

Actionable Voice Marketing Tips:

  • Create voice content marketing that help your prospects and customers to better use their voice-first devices with regard to your products and services. For example, provide audio or video instructions to explain how to connect them. Use your receipt and product pages. For example, use Home Depot’s explainer video as an example of voice or multi-modal content.

  • Cross-promote your voice-first content across your owned media. Include podcasts and audio versions of your other content.While trust in all media continues to erode, owned content remains more believable than government, media, advertising and social media according to Edelman’s Trust Barometer (2021).Employer media most believable

Voice Assistant Statistics Conclusion

Regardless of what your boss or management team thinks, your audience uses voice functionality at  home, work and play.

So, if you want your voice-first customer to hear you, then be available in the right contexts and content formats to get heard when they want to listen to your marketing.

Transform you best performing content marketing into voice formats to keep your audience involved. Also provide audio content where it makes sense to your audience.

Start your voice marketing offering small and grow piece by piece of content and communications.

Happy Marketing,
Heidi Cohen

Heidi CohenHeidi Cohen is the President of Riverside Marketing Strategies.
You can find Heidi on FacebookTwitter and LinkedIn.

 

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