Consumers are developing a strong preference for interacting with companies via voice assistants, said a report from Capgemini Digital Transformation Institute. The report, which surveyed more than 5,000 consumers in the US, UK, France and Germany, found that voice assistants will become a dominant mode of consumer interaction over the next three years.
The research found that today around a quarter (24%) of respondents would rather use a voice assistant than a website. However, in the next three years, this figure will rise to 40%. Close to a third – 31% – said they will prefer a voice assistant interaction to visiting a shop or a bank branch, compared to 20% today.
Voice assistant users are currently spending 3% of their total consumer expenditure via voice assistants, but this is expected to increase to 18% in the next three years, reducing share of physical stores (45%) and websites (37%). While streaming music and seeking information remain the most popular usages for voice assistants today, over a third of respondents (35%) have also used them to buy products such as groceries, homecare and clothes. Currently, 28% of users have already used a voice assistant to make a payment or send money, but 44% of users have expressed interest in using voice assistants for banking transactions as more smart speakers enable functions such as credit card payments via voice.
Consumers who use voice assistants are very positive about their experience, with 71% being satisfied with their voice assistant. In particular, 52% of consumers cite convenience, the ability to do things hands-free (48%), and automation of routine shopping tasks (41%) as the biggest reasons why they prefer using voice assistants over mobile apps and websites. The ability for the voice assistant to understand their human user is also critical; 81% of users want the voice assistant to understand their diction and accent. The report also revealed that voice assistants are most popular among 33-45 year olds, while close to 1 in 5 (17%) have an annual pre-tax household income of more than $100K.
Brands who provide good voice assistant experiences will generate more business and positive word-of-mouth communication. The report found that 37% of voice assistant users would share a positive experience with friends and family, and even 28% of current non-users would want to transact more frequently with a brand following a positive experience. This equates to serious potential financial gain, as consumers are willing to spend 5% more with a brand following a good experience with a voice assistant.
“Voice assistants will completely revolutionize how brands and consumers interact with each other. What makes voice assistants so exciting is that they are woven into the fabric of our lives, offering a simplicity and richness of interaction that consumers have never experienced before. Brands that are able to capitalize on the huge consumer appetite around voice assistants will not only build closer relationships with their customers, but create significant growth opportunities for themselves,” said Mark Taylor, Chief Experience Officer, Digital Customer Experience practice, at Capgemini.