Last summer Priya Anand of The Information published a well-researched report about the rarity of product purchasing done by Amazon’s Alexa users in 2018.
The key takeaway: only 2% of those with Alexa-enabled devices actually made voice-directed purchases in 2018 – and within that small group, only 10% made an additional purchase.
When it comes to overall retail revenue that’s not even a blip on the radar screen. And it’s certainly not a big step toward the estimated $40B in voice commerce that Business Insider predicts by 2022.
The submission: conversational commerce = hype. However, that is hardly the case.
Shopping is more than purchasing
Those with some experience in retailing know that product purchasing is a sub-set of a larger set of decision behaviors known as shopping.
And it’s across the entire shopping journey that the value of voice in commerce must be measured.
Consider the impact of the internet upon shopping. According to recent figures from Statista, roughly 54% of all US retail revenues in 2019 will be directly influenced by internet-based sources. That’s annual value impact of more than $2 trillion, a value realized through decision-making driven by search, by reviews and ratings and social media and pricing comparisons.
It’s also a value that continues to create new industry winners and new industry losers. And, it’s a value that is nearly 4X that of rapidly-growing ecommerce purchase revenues.
When it comes to the value of voice commerce, we need to think the same way.
Purchase revenue may be small, but voice is now creating value across shopping decision behaviors across the US.
According to eMarketer’s recent Future of Retail 2019 report, 47% of US smart speaker owners have used voice assistants for product search and research. Given that some 53 million US residents owned smart speakers in 2018, that’s a voice-searching population of roughly 25 million.
Some 43% of smart speaker owners have used them to make shopping lists.
They’re shopping. Shopping with voice and making decisions about what and where to buy.
This is value creation. Done with and through voice assistants.
By the way: keep in mind that we’re in the early days of voice, and that Google Assistant is now estimated to be a resident on more than 1 billion devices worldwide.
And don’t forget that it wasn’t so long ago that the worth of ecommerce was dismissed as being no more than an additional store.