76 Percent Of Consumers Have Used Voice Commands On Digital Devices

Over three-quarters of consumers in the U.S. have used voice commands to operate a digital device, indicating a comfort with voice-activated services — but adoption of digital home assistants is still comparatively low, with only 11 percent of consumers saying they own an Amazon Echo/Dot or Google Home, according to new research from GfK.

Put simply, people are used to the idea that they can command a device with their voice: 69 percent have used speech to send a text, ask a question, or make a search on a smartphone. But with digital home assistants like Amazon Echo and Google Home introduced less than two years ago, it may take a little bit longer for the average consumer to warm up to the idea of using voice-activated intelligent assistants to power more aspects of their daily lives.

The ‘Human’ Element

But while these devices haven’t reach critical mass yet, the bridge is there: As stated, a majority of consumers already use voice commands on their smartphones. And, moreover, voice commands have an inherently “human” element; unlike VR or Google Glass, people ask for information using their voice absolutely everywhere, everyday, and they always have. This is part of what sets digital home assistants apart from other sorts of new technologies that may require more of a learning curve.

Of the 11 percent of consumers who do already own digital home assistants, the report states that “almost half (46 percent) of those who own DHAs say they use the devices at least regularly, and two in ten (19 percent) turn to them ‘all the time.'”

So, what are users doing with these devices once they have them? Playing music is by far the most common application for the assistants, the report states, a use case applied by 63 percent of respondents. The second most popular use is asking questions — an unsurprising application considering the influence of Siri on the iPhone.

Looking to the near future of these devices, Amazon is reportedly set to launch one or more Alexa-powered devices that will allow users to make voice calls. With the addition of voice calling features, this means that the time is not far off when a customer might ask Alexa to search for a restaurant and then call it directly — seamlessly and immediately. In much the same way that enabling click-to-call or click-to-map buttons has mattered for businesses on mobile, ensuring that listings include correct phone number and contact information accessible to intelligent assistants is the next horizon.

While it’s still early days for the technology, marketers should be on the lookout now — as consumer comfort with voice commands indicates that the shift to digital home assistants is on the horizon.