The Current State and Future of Voice Commerce

John Suder
May 31, 2019

Smart technology has grown in popularity in recent years, and at the forefront of a movement toward a better-connected home—and world—are voice assistants. Voice assistants were even among the most talked about products at the 2019 Consumer Electronics Show. Despite their many capabilities, however, adoption still remains relatively low. Sixty-five percent of consumers say they never or rarely use voice assistants like Siri, Google Assistant or Alexa.

While most people have yet to fully embrace voice assistants, they are becoming more familiar with the technology and its uses. In fact, of the consumers who do own a voice assistant, 29 percent use them on a regular basis (daily or weekly). For consumers, interacting with voice assistants is a way to save time, and for brands and retailers, voice assistants are new channels for marketing and selling products.

As most people don’t yet own voice assistants, it’s no surprise that voice shopping remains an untapped channel for most brands and retailers. Only 17 percent of consumers have browsed or shopped products using a voice-activated assistant. On the contrary, nearly half (42 percent) of regular voice-assistant users have already taken to voice shopping. While these shoppers could simply enjoy using their voice assistants, based on the results from a previous survey SUMO Heavy conducted in 2016, the reasoning could be that voice shopping eliminates many of the problems shoppers face online, including broken links/frequent error pages, slow loading times, and lag.

As more people begin to use voice assistants, voice shopping will become a more sought-after feature on the devices. Rather than wait for voice commerce to take off, eCommerce brands and retailers should begin strategizing ways to take advantage of the technology. Companies that sell consumables, in particular, should take notice, as 23 percent of consumers can see themselves purchasing household products and groceries/food delivery using a voice assistant.

For more insights on the future of voice assistants and best practices for voice commerce,