“When it comes to voice search, you go first position or you go home because beyond the first or second place there is no future," commented Sebastien Szczepaniak, a former Amazon executive who now heads e-commerce for Nestlé SA. He has particular insights into the challenges given his background with the world’s largest online marketplace that also is the global market share leader in the voice assistant segment.
There is a new report by OC&C that reveals voice commerce reached nearly $2 billion in the U.S. in 2017. More surprising to some is that it is projected to reach $40 billion in the next five years. That is an 86% compound annual growth rate (CAGR). And, it's not just a U.S. phenomenon. In the U.K. voice shopping is expected to climb from just $200 million to $5 billion in that same period.
Voice assistants are destined to become a big part of consumers’ lives and represent both a big opportunity and a threat for brands. Why? Purchases that occur today through physical stores, websites and apps will materially shift to voice commerce over the next three years. Brands can take advantage of these changing consumer preferences or cede a rapidly growing sales channel entirely to their competitors.
Voice is changing the way consumers interact with technology and how they search for information. Google acknowledges that over 20% of search is now by voice and comScore’s prediction that it will trend toward 50% by 2020 is looking increasingly likely. Smart speakers are accelerating this trend. Why should brands care?
It is often hard to see how new platforms and channels will shape consumer behavior while they are still in the rapid growth phase. Voice looks small compared to the web today the same way the web looked small in 1997-1998 compared to the newspaper business. New communication channels require scale to have an impact, but as they scale brands can’t afford to be absent. Why? Because their competitors are present and soaking up all of the consumer attention.
You may have been following the news from CES this week. If you have, then you know that Toyota and Lexus are adding Alexa access in 2018. The number one manufacturer of car infotainment systems, Panasonic, is also adding Alexa access. Garmin is doing the same thing. Both companies will introduce Alexa to a lot of car models.
The biggest technology story of 2017 was clearly the rapid rise in smart speaker adoption and proliferation of voice assistant access into everyday appliances. XAPP quickly recognized the importance of this shift in consumer technology adoption for media organizations and brands. In 2016, we began optimizing our interactive voice platform, One Voice AI, to enable companies to quickly establish a presence on Amazon Alexa, Google Assistant and Microsoft Cortana individually and simultaneously.
Jazz FM yesterday announced it became the first UK radio station to launch a custom Alexa skill. XAPPmedia has helped over 500 U.S. radio stations launch Alexa skills that connect them directly with their listeners and we were excited to help Jazz FM start this trend in the UK.