Smart speakers more talk than action? Voice assistants across platforms [TUPdate]

Convenience is the surest bet to reach technology consumers. When it comes to voice assistants, it’s important that convenience be handy. It shouldn’t be surprising that consumers first choose what’s familiar and close to hand. More are actively speaking to devices they’ve already had before using smart speakers.

Among American adults, five times as many use a Smartphone than a smart speaker to access a voice assistant. This is based on results from the most recent wave of TUP (Technology User Profile). Nearly half, 46%, of online adults in the US used a Smartphone to access a voice assistant such as Apple Siri. One in five, 20%, used a Tablet. Smart speakers, such as an Amazon Echo or Dot were only being used by one in eleven, 9%, of online US adults.

Among those using a Smartphone to reach their voice assistant, the median household spending for technology devices and services for the full prior year of 2017 is $4,500. By comparison, those using a tablet to reach their voice assistant average $6,750, and those using a smart speaker average $6,560.

At first glance, it may seem compelling that smart speaker users are much bigger spenders. Their median spending for home technology devices and services is double the average online adult. However, tablets are more compelling. Those who use tablets to reach their voice assistants spend a bit more than smart speaker users, at $6,750. More importantly, they are more numerous. In fact, there are more than twice as many, with tablet voice assistant users making up 20% of online adults.

Looking at total spending, Smartphone voice assistant users are putting their money where their mouth is. Although their average spending on technology devices and services is lower than tablet or speaker voice assistant users, there are so many more of them their total spending is higher.

Looking ahead

Consumers are still experimenting with voice assistants, regardless of device. Although smart speakers are getting a lot of attention, it’s worth keeping an eye, and ear, on tablets and smartphones. After all, money talks.

About this TUPdate

This TUPdate includes a complimentary brief summary of recent MetaFacts TUP (Technology User Profile) research results. These results are based on results of the MetaFacts Technology User Profile 2018 survey, its 36th consecutive wave. Similar results are available through TUP fielded in Europe and Asia. For more information about MetaFacts and subscribing to TUP, please contact MetaFacts.

Resources

Current TUP subscribers may request the supporting TUP information used for this analysis or for even deeper analysis.

 

Voice Assistants-What Users Ask About [MetaFAQs]

As the saying goes, many talk about the weather, yet few do anything about it. Our research doesn’t show if people expect Alexa to have any skills to do anything about the weather. However, it is the main subject users speak with Alexa about. That’s followed by requests about music.

MetaFacts VUP-Voice User Profile-Subjects by System

Meanwhile, web searches are the major subject users speak with their Voice Assistants about. This subject is dominated by Google Assistant, and closely seconded by Microsoft Cortana.

Alexa is ranked #1 in the breadth of subjects actively used, and is primarily used for weather, music, and entertainment. Unsurprisingly, perhaps, Alexa is more-favored for shopping than other systems. What may be surprising is that shopping isn’t Alexa’s top helpful task. Since most connected shopping today is visual, most involves the use of a larger screen device such as a PC or Tablet.

Google Assistant is ranked 2nd for breadth of subjects, mostly utilized for web searches, navigation, and music.

3rd-ranked Apple Siri is used primarily for web searches, weather, and navigation, and is uniquely strong in messaging.

4th-ranked Microsoft Cortana is similarly used for web searches, weather, and music. Like Alexa, it’s slightly stronger than average for scheduling.

This is based on the MetaFacts Voice User Profile survey conducted in February 2018. This subset of the results report on active usage, which is a practical measure to contrast with the potential of what Voice Assistants may or may be able to do.

Observations

The market for Voice Assistants is in a time of flux and rapid development, as each Voice Assistant system touts the breadth of its skills, richness of their vocabulary, accuracy, humor, or other capabilities. Meanwhile, users are experimenting, with some former users having been discouraged by unmet expectations and others only at the start of their adoption.

Related research results

The MetaFacts Voice User Profile includes other related analysis, including:

  • The subjects Voice Assistant users ask about: weather, scheduling, music, entertainment, home automation, and more
  • Which Voice Assistant systems are being actively used, on which platforms, and which segments they are attracting
  •  Which listening devices are being actively used – from Smart Speakers to Smartphones and Headsets
  • Where Voice Assistant users will – and won’t – do their talking: in restaurants, driving, while walking, and many other locations and settings
  • How well – or poorly – users experience their Voice Assistants, and how performance metrics vary by system and listening device
  • How many adults are active Voice Assistant users, how many are former users, and how many have never tried one
  • Reasons given why consumers have never used a Voice Assistant, as well as why former users aren’t currently active users

Source

The information in this MetaFAQ is based on a survey of 525 online adults during February 2018 as part of the MetaFacts Voice User Profile (VUP). The study universe includes active Voice Assistant users, former Voice Assistant users, as well as consumers who have never used a Voice Assistant. Current TUP (Technology User Profile) subscribers can obtain the results of this newest research at a discount. For more information about MetaFacts and subscribing to TUP, please contact MetaFacts.

Voice Assistants-What’s Listening Now? [MetaFAQs]

Among Voice Assistant users, Apple AirPods have the most-recent use of a listening device, with 78% having used it on the day we surveyed them. This high active-usage rate is closely followed by Apple Notebook or Desktop Macs.

Android Smartphones rank last for this most-recent-use measure, although rank 1st for having been used within the prior week.

This is based on the MetaFacts Voice User Profile survey conducted in February 2018. This survey was conducted in late February shortly after the release of the Apple HomePod, so too soon to measure the impact of Apple’s new Smart Speaker on the marketplace.

Observations

We’re in a time of experimentation, as technology users are finding their voice. The novelty of voice-control is still fresh, and it remains to be seen whether Voice Assistants will be regularly used by more than a few tech enthusiasts.

Voice Assistant use has reached a greater share of the public’s attention, especially following Amazon’s aggressive push into Smart Speakers and enabling Alexa across a broader range of devices. Similarly, Microsoft’s Cortana, Google Assistant, and Samsung Bixby have garnered renewed attention, and are slowly starting to come into everyday use.

Measuring recency of use is an important indicator of true usage levels. It’s one thing for consumers to play with the features of their new technology devices. It’s another thing for them to incorporate something like Voice Assistant use throughout their day.

Related research results

The MetaFacts Voice User Profile includes other related analysis, including:

  • The topics Voice Assistant users ask about: weather, scheduling, music, entertainment, home automation, and more
  • Which Voice Assistant systems are being actively used, on which platforms, and which segments they are attracting
  • Which listening devices are being actively used – from Smart Speakers to Smartphones and Headsets
  • Where Voice Assistant users will – and won’t – do their talking: in restaurants, driving, while walking, and many other locations and settings
  • How well – or poorly – users experience their Voice Assistants, and how performance metrics vary by system and listening device
  • How many adults are active Voice Assistant users, how many are former users, and how many have never tried one
  • Reasons given why consumers have never used a Voice Assistant, as well as why former users aren’t currently active users

Source

The information in this MetaFAQ is based on a survey of 525 online adults during February 2018 as part of the MetaFacts Voice User Profile. The study universe included active Voice Assistant users, former Voice Assistant users, as well as consumers who have never used a Voice Assistant. Current TUP (Technology User Profile) subscribers can obtain the results of this newest research at a discount. For more information about MetaFacts and subscribing to TUP, please contact MetaFacts.

How many connected adults use hearables? (MetaFAQs)

For ears, it’s an exciting time in the tech industry.

Hearable technology – audio-oriented wearables spanning wireless Bluetooth headsets to VR headsets – have received a fresh round of media attention. This has stemmed from substantial recent investment in new ventures such as Oculus VR along with a wider range of product releases.

Currently, one in eight US connected adults are regularly using a hearable device – either a wireless Bluetooth headset or VR headsets. This level of use is broad enough to represent great potential opportunity, yet not broad enough to sustain many competitors.

The primary current use case for Bluetooth headsets are for phone calls, as has been the case for more than a decade. Apple is leading the charge to change this with their Airpods tightly integrated with iPhones, in a bid to help popularize voice-controlled usage. metafacts-metafaqs-mq0099-120drxhear-2017-01-11_08-54-29Voice assistants such as Apple’s Siri, Amazon’s Alexa, Microsoft Cortana, and Google Now promise to radically shift how users interact with their technology.

VR headsets, sometimes called goggles, are primarily being used for immersive games, and reaching a slightly different segment than Bluetooth headsets.

This is based on our most recent research among 7,336 US adults as part of the Technology User Profile (TUP) 2016 survey.

This MetaFAQs research result addresses one of the many questions profiling active technology users.

Many other related answers are part of the full TUP service, available to paid subscribers. The TUP chapters with the most information about activities is the TUP 2016 Wearables, Hearables, Listening, and Speaking Chapter. This details which market segments are (and aren’t) using hearables, listening to music, using music streaming services, making phone calls, playing games, using voice control, and other audio-oriented products and activities.

These MetaFAQs are brought to you by MetaFacts, based on research results from their most-recent wave of Technology User Profile (TUP).

For more information about MetaFacts and subscribing to TUP, please contact MetaFacts.