Brands and publishers are navigating how they come across in audio. The mounting interest in voice assistants and voice-activated platforms is leading to new ways of working, and in theory, additional channels to drive revenue.
Here are four charts on the state of voice.
Amazon Echo challengers are coming
Amazon has flooded the market thanks to lower pricing, with some reports predicting 40 percent of U.K. households will own an Echo by next year. But Juniper Research analysts expect growth for the Echo Dot, which costs less than £35 ($47), to slow over the next five years, as audio brands like Sonos, Sony and Onkyo introduce their own smart audio speakers.
The Juniper Research report found that revenues from smart audio devices like the Echo and Sonos One will grow from an estimated £1.9 billion ($2.5 billion) in 2017 to over £7.5 billion ($10 billion) by 2022.
Nearly three-quarters of the revenue from these devices will come from North America, with Western Europe accounting for nearly a quarter of it, according to the Juniper Research report. The report predicts a decline in the average selling price of over 20 percent, with devices costing under £56 ($75) making up 40 percent of the market by 2022. Meanwhile, devices costing over £150 ($200) will account for 40 percent of revenue in the market but only 16 percent of shipments in 2022.
U.K. use of voice lags globally
A Mindshare report estimates that 600 million people use voice-activated assistants at least once a week globally, whether that is through Echo and Google Home devices or on smartphones. But problems still exist with rudimentary tech failing to understand accents and dialects, context and complex sentences.
The U.K. lags behind the U.S., Germany and Spain in voice tech usage, according to the Mindshare report, which asked smartphone owners globally how often they use voice assistants. Those using voice once a week typically are young (38 percent are ages 18-34) and male (58 percent).
Voice assistants are expanding to other products: More than two-thirds of smartphone users globally are interested in voice-activated televisions (69 percent), leading publishers like The Telegraph to explore the Echo Show, which is Amazon’s voice-activated device with a screen.
Commerce potential is still untapped
Alexa’s potential to disrupt commerce is discussed with a mix of fear and trepidation, but little evidence for this exists to date. There is ample opportunity for growth in commerce: Mindshare’s report found that finding information on products that users are interested in was the No. 2 most common task voice assistants handled for users.
There are still fears around data privacy, but Amazon doesn’t store customer or order data through Alexa, according to a report by Linc, which states: “The Alexa is more like a telephone handset, while the intelligence behind the conversation, including order details and customer details, are run on other systems and platforms, separate from Amazon’s infrastructure.”
Amazon Echo users buy more
A report in the U.K. from Accenture found that 60 percent of people want to use the Echo in their shopping experience, and 7 percent already do so. Earlier reports from BI Intelligence that surveyed millennials and business leaders found only 9 percent of voice assistant users had used voice commands to make a purchase.
A report released last week from Linc and Rakuten found that Echo owners increased their purchases of consumer products such as diapers by 13.5 percent in September, up from 7.5 percent in June. The report also found that those companies saw a 60 percent upsell rate, indicating people bought more products from the same brand after their Echo purchase.