A survey in October and November 2017 by Accenture has revealed that two thirds of digital voice assistant users tend to scale down contact with their smartphones. This may seem a natural progression for the consumer, but for smartphone manufacturers like Samsung and Apple it may portend hard times ahead if they don’t catch up in voice technology.
However, this may be good news for Amazon and Google as they consolidate their lead in voice technology by integrating their voice assistants into third party devices.
The online survey, conducted by Accenture and Harris Interactive, included 21,000 people from 19 countries and was conducted in October and November 2017.
Within the survey, nearly 2,300 people responded to a question asking whether they agreed with the following statement: “Since I got my digital voice assistant device, I use my smartphone for fewer activities.”
66 percent of the respondents said they agreed or strongly agreed.
Within the sub-group who said they use their smartphones less, 64 percent said they use phones less frequently for entertainment services, while 58 percent said they do less online purchasing with their phones; and 56 percent do fewer searches from their phones.
The survey also projected that ownership of digital assistants will skyrocket in 2018, if people follow through on their expressed intent to buy one.
In the U.S., Accenture estimated 21 percent of the online population owns such a device today, and 37 percent will own one by the end of 2018. In India, the figure will go from 14 percent of the online population today to 39 percent by the end of 2018.
Online surveys can present a skewed representation of reality: Respondents sometimes self-select, and tend to be more interested in technology than average consumers. Nonetheless, the large size of the survey makes it noteworthy.
Smartphones dominate consumer attention today, but smartphone companies are several years behind when it comes to home digital assistants. Amazon first released the Echo widely in the summer of 2015 (it was available in a limited trial to Amazon Prime subscribers even earlier), while the first Google Home came out in November 2016.
Apple had planned to release the HomePod, a home audio speaker with its Siri digital assistant built in, for the 2017 holiday season. However, in November the tech giant announced it would delay the release until early 2018.
Samsung is reportedly aiming to release a smart speaker of its own in the first half of 2018.