The Future Of Consumer Electronics Is Voice-Activated

Now we’re talking. So says new research from Adobe Digital Insights (ADI), which finds that voice-assistant sales grew 103% year over year in the fourth quarter of 2017, a trend that points to a bright future for electronics that listen to our voices.

“We’re moving into a direction where consumers won’t always need a screen to interact with their devices,” said Costa Lasiy, senior analyst for ADI. “Our survey shows that not only are people more confident with voice-based technology, but adoption is also on the rise. We expect this trend to only accelerate over the next year, as more voice-activated devices come to the market, and also as companies begin to embed voice functionality into their existing products and services.”


ADI’s analysis is based on aggregated and anonymized consumer data comprised of over 55 billion visits to more than 250 retailers in the United States. Also part of the research is a survey of 1,000-plus U.S. consumers.

According to the survey, more than half of the consumers who own a voice assistant use it at least once a day. Additionally, 22% of people who own voice assistant devices reported that they shop using voice commands.

“The reason why people are adopting voice tech faster today than ever before is the fact that the technology has improved tremendously, and consumers are noticing,” Lasiy said. According to ADI’s survey, the vast majority of users think that current voice recognition quality is good, with just 4% considering it poor.

The most popular uses for voice assistant devices are listening to music (61%), checking the weather forecast (60%), asking fun questions (54%), and researching (53%).

No Strings Attached
Another trend that ADI has uncovered as part of its analysis: Wireless headphones are here to stay. In fact, wireless headphone sales surpassed wired headphones for the first time this fall in terms of the number of units sold. Funny enough, ADI’s survey revealed that 45% of consumers disagree with the decision by smartphone manufacturers, such as Apple and Samsung, to remove the headphone jack.

Additionally, wireless charger sales have more than doubled year over year, which correlates with the release of more devices supporting the technology this past year. Two-thirds of consumers surveyed agreed that the overall push for consumer electronics without wires is positive.

Consumer Electronics E-Commerce Trends
Online consumer electronics retailers saw a 14.7% growth in Q4 2017 from the same quarter a year prior.

Like other retailers, consumer electronics merchants are following the general trend of a shift toward mobile traffic. However, they are lagging behind the retail industry average of a 50/50 mobile-desktop split. When it comes to online revenue share by device, the vast majority of the online revenue for consumer electronics retailers is still driven by desktop.

“Buying electronics online is a research-intensive process,” Lasiy explained. “You want to really see the product, read all the specs, the reviews, and that’s easier to do on a desktop device. But we’re also seeing that average order value for consumer electronics has seen a steady increase across all devices. We think that is because retailers have become really good at recommending complementary products and accessories, which increases basket size.”

See the full report below, or click here to view it on SlideShare.


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