Voice assistants have become an integral part of our everyday lives. Almost everyone has heard of Siri, Alexa and Co. Ads on different channels from online to print and TV give the impression that the digital assistants have arrived everywhere, and especially at home.
But how widespread are voice assistants really and what are they used for? There are numerous studies that try to answer these questions.
In this article, we have summarized the most important outcomes for you.
Voice assistants on the rise
First of all, it’s interesting to see how many people in Germany use digital voice assistants. The study by GMX and WEB.DE from 2018 assumes that every fifth internet user already has a digital voice assistant in use.
The Bitkom survey from 2018 comes to a slightly different outcome: every eighth citizen that is 18 years or older has already used a voice assistant. However, most people have heard of a voice assistant before (84 percent).
Google Assistant (29 percent) and Apple’s Siri (22 percent) are currently the most widespread ones. Cortana by Microsoft (14 percent) and Alexa by Amazon (12 percent) are used significantly less often (BVDW – 2017).
When looking at the distribution of voice assistants, smart speakers are worth to have a closer look at. Apart from smartphones, voice assistants can be used on other devices, such as smart speakers, which are set up at home or in the office. Currently, most users still use their smartphone (36 percent). However, with 23 percent (smart speakers) and 13 percent (tablet / PC / notebook), other devices are not insignificant when it comes to the usage of voice assistants, so the results of GMX and WEB.DE.
Potentials and obstacles of voice assistants
Furthermore, it is interesting to look at the usage habits. According to the study by GMX and WEB.DE, voice assistants are used primarily for playing music (52 percent) or reading news aloud (42 percent). These applications are followed by web search (29 percent) and smart home functionalities (26 percent).
The study by BVDW comes to the conclusion that above all, the quick access to information and the use of the search engine offers users the most value. Nearly 40 percent of the respondents say that these functions are essential to them.
Just as important as the most common use cases are the reasons why some users don’t use voice assistants yet. The Bitkom study concludes that the main reasons for this are the following three:
- 58 percent are worried about their data.
- 57 percent are afraid that their conversations are bugged.
- 56 percent say they do not need a voice assistant.
The poll made by next Media.Hamburg in 2018 also identifies uncertainty as one of the key factors for hindering the increased use of voice assistants. Three-quarters of the respondents said they feel insecure when giving their data to a voice assistant. The study by BVDW comes to a similar conclusion. The unfamiliar situation is also named as an obstacle: 29 percent of respondents find it strange to talk to a device.
In addition, the use of digital assistants still seems to be a no-go in public for many. Two-thirds of the respondents say they find it rude or annoying to use the assistant in the presence of other people. No wonder, that 82 percent of the participants say that they use voice assistants, especially at home. (GMX and WEB.DE – 2018)
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Nevertheless, the importance smart speakers will increase in the future. At least, forecasts predict a significant increase in sales. Above all, Germany seems to play a key role. By 2024, the annual sales for smart speakers will increase to an amount of $ 30 billion. 10 percent of it will be generated in Germany. (Strategy Analytics – 2018) This development would lead to an increased usage of voice assistants, too.
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