With an increase in ownership of Smart Speakers over the past few years the use of voice assistants has become a regular part of daily life for some. Indeed, a report [download page] from Vixen Labs reveals that some 57% of US adults use voice-activated technology, with 3 in 10 reporting use of voice assistants at least once a day.
Although there is still a large share (43%) of US adults who say they don’t use voice assistants at all, the vast majority (40 of those 43%) are at least aware of the technology. Only a minute share (3%) claim to have no awareness of the technology.
Notably, age doesn’t appear to be a factor when it comes to using voice assistants. However, the voice technology adults are using appears to show some division by age. For example, the survey indicates that respondents ages 55-64 (40%) and 65+ (41%) were far more likely to use Amazon’s Alexa than those ages 18-24 (19%) or ages 25-34 (29%). On the other hand, some 6 in 10 adults ages 18-24 say they use Apple’s Siri, which is more than twice the share of 55-64-year-olds and 65+ who are Siri users (28% each).
Common Uses for Voice Assistants
Research from 2019 shows that playing music and getting the weather were the two most common uses of Smart Speakers. Very little appears to have changed in the past two years in terms of how people are regularly using voice technology more broadly. Vixen Labs found that, once again, two of the most common reasons for using voice assistants are to check the weather forecast (35% doing so regularly) and play music (33%).
Other ways adults are using voice assistants regularly include making calls (22%), sending messages or emails (18%), automating tasks in order to save time (16%), controlling integrated household tech (16%) and checking personal calendars (15%).
Voice-Activated Search Presents Opportunity for Brands
From a marketing perspective, the use of voice assistants has potential — especially at the beginning of the buyer’s journey. Although only one-quarter of adults say they use voice assistants to make purchases either regularly (11%) or sometimes (14%), two-thirds say they ask a question via a search engine either regularly (37%) or sometimes (28%). Additionally, 6 in 10 report using voice assistants at least sometimes to search for information on products and services, while 4 in 10 use the technology to find out information about brands.
The report also points out that some industries have the opportunity to benefit from voice-assisted search more than others. Weather (71%), Music (66%), Entertainment (53%) and Retail (44%) are sectors that have the highest likelihood to be part of a voice-activated search in the US. By comparison, CPG (36%), Travel (34%), Fashion (31%) and Finance (30%) are some sectors less likely to be part of this type of search.
Many users tout the ease and efficiency of using voice-assisted search, with 48% saying it’s quicker than text and 47% saying it helps them search effectively for information.
It is worth pointing out that privacy remains a concern when it comes to using this technology. Last year, Hub Entertainment Research found that a majority of Smart Speaker users identified privacy as an important concern. In this more recent survey, about half (52%) of users expressed concern about the privacy of their data when using voice assistants.
The full report can be found here.
About the Data: Findings are based on a May 2021 survey of 2,000 US adults (18+).