mart speakers are now used by more than 60 million U.S. adults with a 40% annual growth rate and there are twice as many monthly active users of voice assistants on smartphones. The adoption rate of voice is actually faster in many countries that have more recently gained access to Amazon Alexa and Google Assistant. Voice assistants quickly transitioned from a novelty to a robust and active consumer engagement channel.
“When it comes to voice search, you go first position or you go home because beyond the first or second place there is no future," commented Sebastien Szczepaniak, a former Amazon executive who now heads e-commerce for Nestlé SA. He has particular insights into the challenges given his background with the world’s largest online marketplace that also is the global market share leader in the voice assistant segment.
There is a new report by OC&C that reveals voice commerce reached nearly $2 billion in the U.S. in 2017. More surprising to some is that it is projected to reach $40 billion in the next five years. That is an 86% compound annual growth rate (CAGR). And, it's not just a U.S. phenomenon. In the U.K. voice shopping is expected to climb from just $200 million to $5 billion in that same period.
Voice assistants are destined to become a big part of consumers’ lives and represent both a big opportunity and a threat for brands. Why? Purchases that occur today through physical stores, websites and apps will materially shift to voice commerce over the next three years. Brands can take advantage of these changing consumer preferences or cede a rapidly growing sales channel entirely to their competitors.
Are consumers able to find your brand by voice? Gartner is predicting that nearly one-third of web browsing will be conducted without a screen by 2020. Don’t mistake this for other data points that focus on voice consuming a larger proportion of search on mobile. This statistic means that web browsing information traditionally conveyed through images and text will need to be delivered by voice.