Earlier this year in May I wrote about digital assistants and how they are always listening to us in our homes.  There was a shocking news story about Alexa recording a conversation that has since been replaced in our fast-paced world of instant news and information.  Trends in technology come and go almost as fast as the normal news cycle, however voice can no longer be considered just a trend.  Homeowners interaction with voice assistants is increasing at a rapid clip forcing brands to realize they must integrate voice into their overall product strategy or be left behind like yesterday’s sensational news.  Adobe Analytics recently conducted a survey offering some statistics supporting this adoption of voice technology into all facets of our culture.

The demand for voice assistants is being driven by more people buying smart speakers of all shapes and sizes; for example, the Amazon Echo, Apple Homepod, and Google Home.  In January it was reported that 28% of surveyed individuals owned a smart speaker; in August that statistic was up to 32%; a 14% increase in mere months.  It is widely believed that number will grow to nearly 50% given that 79% of smart speaker sales occur during the holiday season.  Usage is also up with 71% of smart speaker owners admitting to chatting at least once a day with their voice assistants and for those who do, 44% of them report using the device multiple times per day.  Those stats hold true in my house.  Our Echo gets a lot of use related to playing music or asking about the weather (though lately my children have taken to adding “funny” things to our shopping list)!

As the quality of voice computing matures the positive interactions will lead to more people expanding how they come to rely on Amazon’s Alexa, Apple’s Siri, and Google’s Assistant.  The conversations folks are having with their devices is starting to expand beyond “Alexa, what’s the weather?” and “Siri, play artist U2.”  While I don’t think my young son was onto something a couple of years ago when he said “Alexa, eat a banana” there have been many fewer times recently where he has blurted out “Alexa, last chance” when trying to get help with something.  Survey respondents included emerging categories such as making shopping lists (43%), doing basic product research (35%), and controlling other smart devices (31%) in their lists of interactions.  While very few users are placing food delivery orders, the skill set of these assistants is growing.  First, we will get more comfortable using voice assistants in our homes.  Then we will start to experience using our voices to control some elements in the world around us, even in front of other people.

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