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Some 58% of US adults have used voice search to find information on a local business at some point in the past 12 months, reports BrightLocal in its 2018 Voice Search for Local Business study. Most commonly, people are using their smartphones (56%) for voice search to find local business information, while about 1 in 5 (18%) have done so using a Smart Speaker.

That seems like a relatively high figure, considering separate research indicating that 1 in 5 Wi-Fi households owns a Smart Speaker, and of those only 18% of those use them to find local businesses and make reservations.

Nevertheless, there seems to be broad usage of voice search for local businesses, and fewer than one-fifth of respondents would not consider using voice search at all.

Not surprisingly, the appetite for voice search is highest among younger respondents: about three-quarters of 18-34-year-olds report having used voice search to find local business information, and only 9% say they wouldn’t consider doing so.

Voice Search Users Are Frequent Users

The report’s findings indicate that voice use is prevalent among those relying on this form of search. Looking specifically at those respondents who had used voice search to find local business information in the past year, the survey results show that three-quarters use voice search at least weekly, and almost half (46%) do so daily.

Interestingly enough, while fewer people use Smart Speakers than other devices for voice search (at least for local business information), it’s those using these devices for voice search that are the heaviest users: fully 53% say they use them daily for local business information.

Voice Search Used for Basic Information

Voice search users are currently using this form of search for fairly basic tasks, per the report. The most popular circumstances that respondents have already used voice search for, as pertains to local businesses, are:

  • Getting addresses (45%);
  • Getting directions (45%);
  • Getting phone numbers (45%); and
  • Finding out opening hours (44%).

The prevalence of these tasks means that businesses should be aware of their online information. Recent research from BrightLocal revealed that 71% of adults have felt the effect of local business information inaccuracies found online, such as having called a wrong phone number or arrived at a location when it was closed.

Meanwhile, this latest study also delves into the circumstances for which respondents would like to use voice search for local businesses. The most common situation is to make a restaurant/pub/bar reservation (54%), which aligns with a separate result showing that restaurants and cafes are the business types that voice search users would consider the most for information.

Besides making reservations, voice search users would also like to use this technology to: find out prices of a local business’ products/services (46%); find out which products or services a local business sells or offers (41%); and to find out which products a local business has in stock (40%).

BrightLocal notes that none of those services were available at time of publication. However, “the continued development of structured data should allow local business websites to fully mark up their product and service pages in a way that’s universally recognized by search engines.”

The full survey results can be found here.

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