The Voice Shopping Market Is About to Take Off

March 7, 2018 - 4 minutes read

The rapid rise of smart speakers over the past few years is nothing compared to what we’re about to see, at least according to new research from strategy consulting firm OC&C Strategy Consultants.

Voice shopping is expected to skyrocket from its current $2 billion market value to $40 billion by 2022. This massive expansion will be driven by the sharp spike in smart speakers we’ll also see. This is expected to rise from 13% of homes today to 55% in the same timeframe.

Streamlining the Purchasing Process

Do you use a smart speaker to make purchases? According to a recent survey of 1,500 smart speaker owners, there’s a good chance you will in the near future. A combination of intuitive IoT and AI development, smart speakers are forecasted to be in more than half of all U.S. households by 2022.

Conducted in December 2017, OC&C Strategy’s research revealed that consumers are mostly ordering stand-alone, low-cost items through their smart speakers. Grocery shopping makes up the bulk at 20%, closely followed by entertainment and electronics at 19% and 17%, respectively. Clothing trailed behind at 8%. The typical voice shopping consumer is young, affluent, and likely to have children. It comes as no surprise that groceries take the lead in this market since more than half of all Amazon Echo speakers are located in the kitchen.

The Competition for Your Voice Is Heating Up

Although the voice shopping market is set to explode, it’s unclear which company or product will dominate this growth. According to a recent survey by Consumer Intelligence Research Partners, Amazon currently holds 69% of the U.S. market. But the Seattle developer┬áis facing stiff competition from Google, who holds 31% of the market.

Amazon still outsold every other smart speaker in late 2017, but Google did see a surge during the holiday season and announced that it has sold millions of speakers in the last few months. Amazon doesn’t seem too worried about its main competitor gaining ground; they quickly followed this announcement with their own, stating they sold “tens of millions” Alexa-powered devices and that the Echo Dot was the most popular product on their platform this holiday season.

Both Google Assistant and Amazon Alexa currently make shopping suggestions for customers. This could become the linchpin of the competition since 85% of shoppers usually purchase a product that Amazon recommends. Amazon utilizes its own marketplace to fulfill orders while Google Assistant integrates with Google Express, a service released in 2017 that lets shoppers buy products from well-known retailers like Home Depot, Costco, and Walmart.

Other Players in the Market

While this battle for voice shopping seems to come down to Amazon and Google, it would not be prudent to count the other tech companies out. Apple’s HomePod was just released in the last month, Samsung plans on entering the smart speaker market later on this year, and even Facebook is rumored to have one in the works, possibly due to be released in May. Microsoft entered the market with the Harman Kardon Invoke last October and plans to expand Cortana to additional devices this year as well.

The 2018 holiday season could tell a completely different story from 2017’s. With this recent research unveiling that there are massive amounts of money to be made in the voice shopping market, you can bet that all of these companies are sharpening their strategies in preparation.

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