The Rise of Voice Search

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The way we use the Internet is changing. Business Optimizer explores the stats behind the rise of Voice Search.

As consumers, we are probably anecdotally aware of the increasing relevance of voice search. But within our businesses, we need to be act swiftly to take advantage of the new opportunities this new technology is bringing.

While mobile voice search currently dominates, shifting trends mean that smart speaker voice searches are boosting the numbers of voice searches

The latest survey from NPR and Edison Research confirms smart speaker ownership in the USA continues to increase. 21 percent of the population now own at least one smart speaker.

This represents a 78 percent year-on-year increase in the total number of devices in homes.

This trend has led NPR and Edison Research to suggest that voice-activated technology is increasingly integrated into millions of people’s everyday lives.

Statistics from eMarketeer show that voice-activated device use increased 128.9 percent between 2016 and 2017 – with 35.6 million Americans using such a device
at least once a month in 2017.

By January 2018 there were an estimated one billion voice searches per month. The NPR and Edison Research survey shows 52 percent of all smart speaker
owners are now using their device daily.

Industry analysts expect the trend only to increase. Gartner predicts 30 percent of all online searches will be conducted via a device without a screen by 2020.

The consultancy organisation has also stated that early adopter brands that redesign their websites to support both visual and voice search will see a revenueboost by 2021; an increase in digital commerce revenue Gartner puts at 30 percent.

For businesses, it is important to understand the demographics behind these stats. The highest percentage of smart home device owners fall within the 25 to 35 age

And e-Marketeer predicts that the number of millennials who use voice-enabled digital assistants will climb to 39.3 percent this year. This compares with just 10
percent of baby boomers.

This demographic split has implications for organisations in terms of how they optimise their voice search initiatives and marketing.

The preferred platform is also significant. eMarketeer has also found that more than 70 percent of voice search is conducted on Amazon Echo. Significantly for
marketers, this contrasts with Google Home’s market share of 23.9 percent.

Google search has dominated online search for so long, any deviation from this could force a serious rethink in strategy – particularly for cheaper items such as groceries, where the reduced need for pre-purchase research makes them a natural fit with voice search purchasing.

These issues are important for marketers to grapple with because the opportunities are large – and growing.

In the USA, 22 percent of smart speaker owners have purchased one or more items using their devices. Indeed, OC&C Strategy Consultants state overall voice commerce was worth $1.8 billion last year. It predicts this value will rise to $40 by 2022.

What is your organisation doing to respond?