Voice search is on the rise. Before you chalk it up to just another technological novelty, here are 31 stats that prove voice anything but a fad – and a few ways you can take advantage of it.
Alexa. Assistant. Bixby. Cortana. And of course, Siri.
No doubt you’ve heard the names of a least a few of the above digital assistants. More importantly, you might be one of the 39 million Americans (and growing) who’ve engaged voice AI through a smart speaker you own.
Within the next three years, estimates show over half of all households – 55% to be exact – will own some form of smart speaker.
Whether the growing popularity of voice searches and the speakers that hear them, translates into real dollars for those not selling devices is where the real future of this technology hinges.
Aside from the traffic generated by local searchers, which we will touch on shortly, purchases made directly through search remain tepid, with only 22% of users having made some type of purchase.
As the company most positioned for these types of buys, voice purchase remains mainly an Amazon-specific endeavor, with grocery and entertainment shopping also factoring.
There are signals though that this is all about to change. Currently, the 22% of voice shoppers equal roughly a modest $2 billion in sales.
Over the next three years, however, some indicators are showing an astonishing jump in voice-based buying activity, with voice shopping expected to hit $40 billion.
In other words, a 20x increase in voice shopping is on the horizon.
So while the use of smart speakers like the Amazon Echo, Google Home, and Apple Homepod are quickly passing from novelty to necessity, their continued adoption into homes and that $40 billion number foretell a more prominent trend – the rise of voice search.
That’s not at all surprising considering over 40% of owners of voice-enabled devices – including smartphones – use them for shopping.
Beyond just making purchases though, people appreciate the warm, cozy-blanket feel of their digital assistants.
- 72% of smart speaker owners use their devices daily.
- Another 41% admit that the device (and attached AI) feels as if their speaker is the same as talking to a friend.
What this means is that this technology is by no means passive. Sure, you could make the argument that smartphones have already sewn themselves into the fabric of our daily lives, but the smart speaker is extending that even further.
Individuals are integrating smart devices into all aspects of their lives, putting speakers in their homes – even their bedrooms – because they don’t just help track down info, but also carry out tasks.
And perhaps even more importantly, the rise in voice search presents a unique opportunity for you and your business. You know voice search is on the rise. It’s time to take advantage of this trend.
Local Voice Search Dominates
Smartphones still play a crucial role in the advances of voice search.
Roughly one in every five adults performs a voice search via mobile device at least once per month.
20% of smart mobile device users accessing voice search may not appear such a surprising stat. However, once you consider where voice queries are making the most significant impact and proving the most practical, it can be profound for businesses.
Just like politics, voice search is very much local. In other words, most voice searches are related to something in the immediate vicinity.
According to a recent survey by BrightLocal, voice search dominates inquires made at a localized level.
These are inquiries from consumers seeking out information or obtaining business details like hours of operation or location and directions. The voice operations are also used to perform actions including making a reservation at a restaurant or ordering groceries.
A few of the significant findings include:
- 58% of consumers have found local business information through a voice search with 56% of those by way of a smartphone.
- 46% of users of voice search use the feature to find a local business daily.
Although a mobile device is the most practical and widely used tool, when it comes to voice search, owners of smart speakers are a committed bunch:
- Even with 18% of local voice search carried out using a smart speaker (the lowest of any device), three-fourths of those speaker devotees conduct a local search weekly.
- A little over half performed a verbal search every day.
Whether it’s through a smartphone or smart speaker, what happens after those searches is even more vital. For a local business, there’s a lot to like.
- 28% reach out to the business by calling it.
- 27% visit the website.
- 19% end up making an in-person visit to the business itself.
When a user conducts a voice search, there are concrete actions that result from it.
Many of the above statistics ultimately lead to the voice search number that is most repeated and continues to set the tone for where the search is heading. As recently as January 2018, the average number of voice searches were topping out a staggering one billion per month.
Clearly, voice search is here to stay.
Fast forward a couple of years, and some circles expect that very early in the next decade, half of all searches will be through voice.
Taken individually, a lot of the above stats might not move the needle for a business. Certainly, there’s plenty of other immediate concerns to address to survive in an increasingly competitive marketplace.
However, when viewed collectively, the numbers point to one conclusion: voice search is a major force in how consumers find and engage with businesses, particularly those at the local level.
And we’re only now just entering the early maturation stages of what voice can really do.
Who Is Using Voice Search
Clearly, finding stuff with your the sound of your voice lends itself to local searches performed with a mobile device (although smart speaker use is increasing), but what are the demographics behind those chasing down information.
Unsurprisingly, Millenials are most apt to put a voice behind their searches. As we move deeper into 2019, individuals between the ages of 23 and 38 are performing 39% of all voice searches.
Having grown up with rapidly changing technology, there is a comfort level inherent to how those under 40 use it. To be sure, it’s anticipated that 30% of searches will soon be screenless. Obviously, young people don’t need to see it to know it works.
There is a steep drop off, however, when looking at Generation X and Baby Boomers and how much they’re voice searching.
Gen Xers, who grew up knowing how to use technology, but do not necessarily gravitate to it as freely those who are younger, will perform 17% of voice searchers in 2019.
Boomers are even less likely to use voice, only 10% slated to do so in the coming year.
Overall adoption though is on the rise. We already touched on those who own a smart device capable of voice search. Those folks are looking to add more.
45% of individuals who already own one smart speaker have plans to add another one to their home.
42% say its a vital part of their daily life
A whopping 65% claim they don’t want to return to the days without a smart speaker.
All of these data points and percentages are definitely informative, but there’s also the question of dollars, and how the voice search and recognition business translates in financial terms.
Who’s the big player in this growing economic engine? There’s two actually – Amazon and Google.
Together the two tech behemoths combine to control 94% of the smart speakers currently in use. Impressive to say the least.
Numbers are great at providing an overview as to what’s going on in a particular segment of business or technology. Though, to fully appreciate what’s happening, apply the above numbers to what’s going on in your life, today.
Consider for a minute how you search for information. Do you prefer to type in the details or appreciate the freedom that comes with something hands-free?
What about your friends or family members, specifically those that are of a younger generation. Even more important, what do your customers do?
Do you or any of them own a smart speaker? Or have you engaged Alexa on an Echo or Siri on an iPhone more than a few times, even if it was for a laugh?
As with any big technologies, they often start small. Just think of the device that serves as the catalyst for voice search going mainstream – the smartphone.
Just over a decade ago in 2007, Apple introduced the first iPhone. Now, over 77% of US adults and 94% of adults between ages 18 and 29 own some model of smartphone. From curiosity to necessity in fewer than 15 years.
With voice search, the same truths are coming to pass, seemingly even faster, which is why now is the time to take action. Optimize your business for voice search so that Alexa, Assistant, Bixby, Cortana, and Siri learn who you are.
Once they know, so will everyone else.