The voice shopping market in the United States is set to grow 1,900-percent over the next four years, data compiled by OC&C Strategy Consultants suggests. The analytics firm projected the voice-enabled purchases will turn into a $40 billion industry by 2022, whereas they currently drive approximately $2 billion in annual sales. Based on that estimate, the consulting company is pointing to voice shopping solutions as the next disruptive force in the retail sector expected to leave a permanent mark on the industry and possibly force some entities slow to adapt to the change out of business.
The study identified the Silicon Valley's smart speakers as the driving force behind the incoming change, stating that the increasing popularity of such consumer electronics will prompt more people to become comfortable with the idea of shopping online using just their voice. Today, approximately 13-percent of U.S. homes have a smart speaker, whereas OC&C expects 55-percent of them will in four years' time. The trend is likely to benefit Amazon the most, with the world's largest e-commerce platform also being behind by far the most popular smart speaker lineup in the country. The Echo-series devices and third-party hardware with support for Alexa are all expected to place Amazon's solution at the forefront of the voice-enabled shopping surge, with both segments being highly complementary. The study estimates Echo devices alone have presently made their way to ten-percent of U.S. households, whereas the Google's Home-branded speaker family penetrated only four-percent of them. One out of 50 households in the country has a speaker powered by Microsoft's Cortana such as the Harman Kardon Invoke, the report indicates.
It's presently unclear whether Apple is too late to the market to reap major benefits from voice-enabled shopping, with its HomePod launching only recently and Siri generally being considered as inferior to other consumer AI solutions on the market, even though it's been designed to be much more natural to speak with than Alexa. Groceries are presently the most popular product category bought via voice-enabled shopping platforms, amounting to 20-percent of all such purchases, entertainment and electronics follow at 19- and 17-percent, respectively, with clothing being fourth at eight-percent, according to the study. Voice-based e-commerce systems are expected to be a major focus of smart speaker makers going forward as they are widely believed to be the most straightforward method for monetizing such gadgets.