Accenture: Stand-Alone Digital Voice Assistants Are Taking Consumers Away From Smartphones

66% of consumers who own a stand-alone DVA use their smartphone for fewer activities, an Accenture survey says.

Just as marketers have widely adopted a “mobile-centric” approach to reaching consumers, people who own in-home digital voice assistant devices like an Amazon Echo, Google Home, and Apple HomePod are using their smartphones less often for entertainment and online purchasing, according to a survey from Accenture.

Digital voice assistant devices – powered by artificial intelligence, Connected Intelligence, and Natural Language Processing  – have been primarily used for playing music, turning the heat and lights on and off, as well as providing news, weather, and sports scores. But as these devices become more mainstream, they’re starting to impact shopping activity.

Accenture’s online survey of 21,000 consumers in 19 countries during Oct./Nov. 2017 for its report, Time to Navigate the Super Myway: Giving Consumers Exactly What They’re Looking For, indicates that two-thirds (66 percent) of consumers who own digital voice assistants use their smartphones for fewer applications in the home since acquiring a connected home device.

Nearly two-thirds (64 percent) of these owners said they use their smartphones less for entertainment — and more than half use them less for online purchasing and general information searches (58 percent and 56 percent, respectively).

“Digital voice assistant devices are challenging smartphones as the central hub for all activities in the home,” said David Sovie, global managing director of Accenture’s High Tech business. “These low-cost devices deliver valuable and practical benefits and are relatively easy to use, and their rapidly growing popularity is one of the most striking trends in the high-tech industry.”

Source: Accenture

Accenture’s survey also buttresses previous studies’ projections that that ownership levels of digital voice assistant devices are projected to more than double in 2018, reaching 39 percent of the online population in India, 37 percent in the United States, 34 percent in Brazil, 33 percent in China, 26 percent in Germany, and 24 percent in the United Kingdom.

In terms of what’s driving those purchases, nearly two-thirds (63 percent) of respondents said they are either using or interested in using a digital voice assistant device, with the vast majority (94 percent) of current users either satisfied or very satisfied with these products.

“Consumers are embracing the blended experiences that voice- enablement provides,” the Accenture report states. “Soon consumer interest will shift from new form factors to connected, live intelligence and success will pivot on how well companies create and sustain engaging blended experiences. Integrating natural language processing will be a key imperative for the developer ecosystem such that video, voice and various other interfaces work seamlessly together at home and on the go.”

Just as mobile search has cannibalized desktop search, the rise of voice-activated connected home devices will force brands to figure out new ways to ensure discovery by the consumers they want to reach, Yext VP of Industry Insights Duane Forrester has noted[Full disclosure: Yext owns GeoMarketing. More details on that relationship here]

“Marketers… have to adopt that long-tail, conversational phrase approach to targeting what to produce content around,” Forrester has said. “You do need to build the detailed answers. You have to think about this in terms of the common and uncommon questions that are related to your product and services. Let’s use an example: If a person buys a ‘red widget,’ inevitably, they’re going to need a widget polishing cloth, and you sell a widget polishing cloth. Well, that means you have to talk about red widgets. That’s an easy win for you.”

About The Author
David Kaplan David Kaplan @davidakaplan

A New York City-based journalist for over 20 years, David Kaplan is managing editor of A former editor and reporter at AdExchanger, paidContent, Adweek and MediaPost.