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Study: 66% of Virtual Assistant Owners Say They Are Using Smartphones Less

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Digital voice assistant ownership has increased substantially over the last few years. One projection says that there are roughly 50 million virtual assistants in the U.S. As these devices improve search capabilities and the overall user experience, that number is expected to keep rising.

With adoption on the rise, how are these devices impacting consumer behavior? Based on new data from Accenture, it appears virtual assistant usage is resulting in less time spent with smartphones. The survey detailed that since acquiring a digital voice assistant, 66% of consumers use their smartphone less for a variety of activities. These activities include accessing entertainment services (64%), online purchasing (58%) and fewer general searches (56%).

The 2018 Accenture Digital Consumer Survey explored 21,000 consumer’s experiences and expectations throughout the digital world. The survey predicted that 37% of US consumers are projected to own a digital voice assistant by the end of 2018. As this number rises, marketers should continue seeking out ways of being discovered via voice assistants.

According to the survey, “stand-alone digital voice assistant devices are leading the evolution toward blended digital and physical experiences.” Devices that at one time were used to simply play music, and provide modest information, are now pulling consumers away from their smartphones, and impacting shopping behaviors.

Although stand-alone devices rank behind embedded voice assistants (Siri, Google Assistant) in overall popularity, they demonstrate higher satisfaction levels. Ninety-four percent of consumers expressed satisfaction with stand-alone devices, as opposed to 91% of embedded. Stand-alone devices also showcase a higher usage frequency, with 75% being utilized daily and weekly, compared to 69% of embedded.

These statistics, specifically the way virtual assistants are resulting in less smartphone usage, represent an interesting shift in consumer behavior. Marketers must continue to track the adoption of virtual assistants as well as how these devices are being used to access local information. With this understanding, marketers can then start to understand how to improve discoverability on these devices.

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