Voice Commerce on the Rise: What Are People Purchasing?

There is no doubt that voice search is becoming a new, important pathway for consumer purchasing. Voice search should be a front-of-mind consideration for the marketing and communications strategy of any company. We have provided statistics and key-takeaways on the relevance of voice search in consumer purchasing, as well as the most common purchase categories below.  

Why Does Voice Search Matter?

Voice search matters because the majority of people are using it. The following statistics from the 2019 Microsoft Voice Report show the massive adoption of voice search, digital assistants, and smart speakers to support their daily lives:

  • 75% of households will have at least one smart speaker by 2020;
  • In 2019, 72% of people use voice search through a personal digital assistant and 35% have used voice search through a smart home speaker;
  • 52% of users are searching for a product or service;
  • 44% conduct additional research for products and services;
  • 31% use digital assistants to compare products and services; and
  • 25% use digital assistants to make a purchase.

Perhaps one of the most important takeaways is that 54% of voice users indicated they believe that digital assistants will help them make retail purchases within the next five years. 

What is vCommerce?

Voice is becoming such a hot concern in commerce that it now has its own term: vCommerce.  This represents eCommerce’s evolution to include voice shopping. One of the anticipated benefits of vCommerce is its ability to reduce friction in the shopping experience.  Once that ease is achieved, there will be no going back. Consumers are unlikely to return to more burdensome shopping experiences once they have found one that is a more natural and easy fit for their lifestyle. The Voice Shopping Consumer Adoption Report from voicebot.ai found that voice shopping will account for $40 billion in U.S. consumer spending by 2022.

In order for purchasing via voice to hit its stride, it first needs to be convenient – and that is happening.  The Microsoft Voice Report found that, of consumers who made a search using voice, 74% reported the transaction as being fairly easy. Considering that voice search is still a relatively new technology, this is an impressively high figure. This indicates that, as technology improves, vCommerce will continue to rise.

What are Consumers Buying?

In order to understand what consumers are buying, it is first important to understand who these consumers are. According to the Voice Shopping Consumer Adoption Report:

  • Two-thirds of voices shopper are under the age of 45;
  • Men are more likely to shop via voice; and
  • Over 85% of voice purchases were for items under $100.

The Microsoft Voice Report and the Voice Shopping Consumer Adoption Report show similar categories of goods as particularly popular for purchasing via voice:

  • Purchases on Amazon.com;
  • Clothing;
  • Electronics;
  • Home goods, such as toilet paper and cleaning products; and
  • Entertainment, music, and movies

These categories make sense for these early days of voice search given that they are often at a lower price point and don’t require the user to communicate intricate details to complete a purchase. As technology improves and adoption increases, we anticipate that most products available online will show up on the list above.

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