Smartphones taking a back seat to digital voice assistants

Monday, 15 January, 2018

Smartphones taking a back seat to digital voice assistants

Digital voice assistant devices in homes are becoming more popular than smartphones, according to a new Accenture survey.

It would seem that consumers who own in-home digital voice assistant devices are using their smartphones less often for entertainment and online purchasing.

Digital voice assistant devices — powered by artificial intelligence — are standalone hardware devices that use voice interfaces for a range of consumer services such as playing music, turning the heat and lights on and off, and providing news, weather and sports scores.

The online survey of 21,000 consumers in 19 countries — whose findings are summarised in a new Accenture report, Time to Navigate the Super Myway: Giving Consumers Exactly What They're Looking For — show that digital virtual assistants are becoming the central hub for home activities in Australia.

The findings reveal that seven out of 10 Australian consumers who own digital voice assistants use their smartphones for fewer applications in the home since acquiring the devices. Three-quarters (75%) of these owners said they use their smartphones less for entertainment, more than two-thirds use them less for online purchasing and more than half for general information searches (71% and 55%, 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.”

The survey shows that ownership levels of digital voice assistant devices in Australia are projected to increase more than five times this year, reaching 23% by the end of 2018 from 4% in 2017.

These products are not only increasing in demand, but they are also satisfying consumers’ wants and needs. More than half (58%) of respondents said they are either using or interested in using a digital voice assistant device, with the vast majority (92%) of current users either satisfied or very satisfied with these products.

In addition to digital voice assistant devices, the survey also explored Australian consumers’ interest in augmented reality (AR) and virtual reality (VR), which the results show extend far beyond gaming to a range of more practical needs. For example, more than half (58%) of respondents said they are interested in AR or VR to learn about a place they are visiting and to learn new skills or techniques. Other areas of interest include visualising how clothes might fit (cited by 53% of respondents) and viewing 3D manuals (50%).

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