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.

 

Getting Things Done – The Primary Device from PCs to Smartphones [TUPdate]

Getting things done. Isn’t it one of the main explanations we offer when we’re buying our tech devices?

While much of actual tech device usage is about entertainment, communication, and shopping, productivity has its solid place in everyday use.

Whether using a PC, Smartphone, Tablet, or some combination, the majority of connected adults turn to their devices for everything from scheduling appointments to calling on a voice assistant. Based on our Technology User Profile 2017 US survey wave, 88% of Connected Adults regularly use one of their connected devices for any of a range of productivity activities.

Mobility is the Key to Productivity Activities

Having one’s device handy is key for the productivity-oriented. The majority of productivity activities are regularly done using a mobile device – a Notebook, Tablet, or Mobile Phone. This focus on mobility has remained relatively constant over the last few years, representing over two-thirds of the primary productivity devices.

PCs as Dominant Device Type for Productivity

Americans use a PC of some kind for most of their productivity activities. This majority position has withered over the last two years, declining slightly from 54% and 55% of adults to the 51% mark in 2017.
During that same time period, more adults have made the switch from Basic cell phones to Smartphones. This has helped Mobile Phones to increase their share as the favored productivity device, rising to second-place with 41% of adults.

Smartphone surpass Desktops as preference for productivity

Diving more deeply into the TUP data, and looking at connected devices in a more detailed view, Smartphones emerge as the major productivity device. Even looking at Desktops versus Smartphones by combining Tower Desktops with All-in-One Desktops, the year 2017 marks the first time that Smartphones outnumber Desktops as the preferred Productivity device. In 2016, TUP showed that 37% of the primary productivity devices are Desktops to 34% for Smartphones. In 2017, this shifted to 33% Desktops and 39% Smartphones.
Voice Assistants, such as Apple’s Siri, are one of the major productivity activities which have grown in usage, especially on Smartphones. For those users who primarily use a Smartphone for most of their productivity, 57% use a Voice Assistant at least monthly, a level which is 44% higher than the national average. They’re also 30% or more higher than average to be using their Smartphone to manage tasks/to-do items, their personal or work calendar, store their contacts, and to save and play voice memos.
Notebooks, on the other hand, are making a gradual retreat as the productivity device of choice. These still stand out, however, for being above average for certain activities among those who favor their notebooks for productivity. Several productivity activities which are done on notebooks at 25% or more above average: collaborating on work or personal files, finances/accounting, write/manage text/notes/documents, download/use/update anti-virus/security software, and ad blocking software. Yes, the productivity-oriented are more likely than average to block ads and get back to work.
For productivity-primary desktop PCs, however, only two productivity activities stand out above average in their regular use: download/use/update anti-virus/security software, and ad blocking software. Although these two activities do reduce interruptions, they aren’t particularly productive. This indicates that Desktops are likely to continue their slide from primacy for productivity. They’ll either be consigned to other types of activities, or be overtaken by notebooks or tablets.

Looking ahead

Although habits change slowly, they do change. Even as users move between multiple devices, it takes time for them to migrate their behaviors from one way of doing things to another. Apps that have versions that support platforms can ease the user’s migration between devices. By simultaneously supporting multiple platforms, app makes can also make it easier for users to get things done among their own collection of devices, further supporting user’s own choices.

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 survey, from 2015 through 2017, its 35th consecutive wave. Comparable 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.