The Battle of Intelligent Assistants, an Overview [DATA]March 8, 2018 | By Tanya Levina
From smartphones to home pods – intelligent assistants are becoming widely used with far-ranging implications for the customer experience of the future. As prices decrease and functionality increases, consumers are finding more reasons to adopt these devices. Sold at less than $40, Amazon Echo dots and Google Home minis made a perfect gift for the 2017 holiday season. As a result, 20% of American households are now proud owners of a smart home gadget. Consumers utilize intelligent assistants for a wide variety of tasks, from playing music and placing calls to scheduling flights and making mortgage payments.2
Intelligent assistants are also poised to change the way Americans shop. While only 11% of Americans said they made a purchase via intelligent assistant in the past 6 months, the battle for households’ share of wallet will move to the forefront as these devices become more pervasive.
To better understand ownership and usage patterns for intelligent assistants, we surveyed over 1,700 American consumers and asked them about the ways they use intelligent assistants on their smartphones and smart home devices.
Intelligent Assistants vie for Market Share and Usage
Amazon made a sound investment by heavily promoting Alexa; Amazon Echo is currently the most popular smart home device (owned by 41% of those who have a smart home device, followed by Google Home at 25%). It’s no wonder that Apple has been working hard to launch the Siri home device, “HomePod” (available 2/9/18) to ensure that they do not lose out on market share.
What do American consumers use smart home devices for? Checking the weather and asking questions! Playing music is also a popular use for smart home pods since many of them were initially built as high-quality speakers.
As intelligent assistants become widespread, consumers will use them for a variety of functions, including shopping. More than a quarter of smart homeowners have made a purchase through their device, indicating that shopping through intelligent assistants has the potential to shake up the online marketplace.
Intelligent assistants not only simplify the purchase process but also help to channel purchases via specific platforms. The type of smart home gadget that comes into a person’s house will have implications for the products they will buy. For example, an Amazon Echo owner can order an item from their Amazon wish list with just a couple of words, solidifying Amazon’s e-commerce lead. Men are more likely to take advantage of these shopping conveniences than women.
There is an opportunity for businesses to partner with various intelligent assistants, the way Quicken Loans did with Amazon – consumers are now able to check their loan balance and make payments through Alexa commands. As more tasks become integrated with intelligent assistants, there will be pressure for businesses to get on the bandwagon.
For some tasks, such as asking for information, consumers prefer the intelligent assistant on their smartphone rather than the smart home device. Cross-device continuity is expected, which is why Amazon designed Alexa to be compatible with both iPhones and Androids. Google Now is automatically available for any smartphone that uses any Google apps, putting Google at an advantage compared to Siri, which is confined to Apple devices.
Every smartphone owner has a built-in intelligent assistant, and an increasing number of people take advantage of it. Nearly half (45%) of smartphone owners use it at least sometimes and more than 1 in 5 say they use their smartphone assistant “all the time”.
Consumers are most likely to use the intelligent assistant on their smartphone to make calls, check the weather, and ask questions. Older consumers (35+) are especially likely to use the intelligent assistant on their smartphone for the latter two purposes. Shopping is the fourth most used functionality, a clear signal of consumer expectations.
As smart home devices become ubiquitous and consumers become comfortable with utilizing intelligent assistants for an ever-increasing number of tasks, businesses will find it necessary to develop partnerships with leaders in the space (such as Alexa, Siri, and Google Now) or risk being left out in the cold.
Fluent is a data-driven marketing company. Fluent’s 2018 Devices and Demographics survey was conducted online within the United States by Fluent, LLC on January 24, 2018, among 1,713 adults (aged 18 and up). Due to rounding, percentages may not always add up to 100%. Fluent’s proprietary ad serving technology includes a real-time survey module that was used to facilitate the data collection for this study. Respondents were randomly selected and data were weighted to US Census 2010 population distribution.