2019 was a pivotal year for voice commerce.
At Blutag, we had front-row seats to voice shopping’s explosion into the mainstream. We saw a 25x increase in new customers build and deploy voice shopping assistants over the last year. Business Insider featured us as a leading “voice-first” startup, and FoxBusiness invited us on the show to discuss how voice shopping is transforming retail forever.
We’re just getting started and so is voice commerce.
The sales channel grew faster than expected this year. By all measures, 2020 will be even bigger. Further down the road, OC&C Strategy Consultants estimates that voice will increase to $40 billion in retail revenue by 2022.
In this post, we share our most important takeaways from the last twelve months and look ahead to what’s coming in online retail. If you aren’t bought into voice shopping already, now is the time.
Takeaway #1: Smart speaker growth beating expectations
Smart speakers are no longer novelty devices.
There are approximately 200 million smart speakers installed today around the world. Adoption grew by over 80% between 2018 and 2019. By 2024, Global Market Insights predicts the global smart speaker market will be worth more than $30 billion.
In the US, more than half of all households will own at least one smart speaker within the next two years. Companies like Amazon, Google, Facebook, and Apple continue to invest millions of dollars into the technology, highlighting how excited they are about the space.
We saw a slew of new announcements and releases for voice-enabled devices in 2019. Amazon released wireless Echo Buds and Echo Frames that can both respond to voice commands. GM is planning to offer a built-in Alexa Auto capability starting early 2020. With technologies like these, consumers could act on impulse and browse as certain brands or products come to mind.
Smart speakers provide the network through which voice shopping thrives. As natural language processing and voice computing technology improves, these devices will become more integral to our daily lives and voice commerce.
Takeaway #2: Retailers starting to see the value of voice commerce
Retailers are increasingly promoting voice as a compelling way to shop.
For example, Amazon extended voice-specific discounts to Prime members for certain devices back in July. Shoppers could purchase 3rd generation Echo Dots for $22 (56% off) or 32Gb Fire Tablets for $50 (29% off). On Black Friday, the eCommerce giant offered smart plugs for $5 (80% off), but only if you asked Alexa.
Voice shopping reduces friction for many purchasing decisions, enabling consumers to place orders hands-free. Before 2019, voice shopping was primarily used for replenishable items, like groceries and household needs. We saw usage and transactions increase for higher-margin products, like apparel and other gift items, this year. We saw retailers deploy voice-specific deals for Black Friday and Cyber Monday on our platform.
Retailers who supported voice in 2019 were ahead of the curve. Next year, those who don’t have a voice app will be behind the curve. Voice shopping is growing that quickly.
In 2020, an “omnichannel” eCommerce strategy will include a voice shopping channel. If you don’t support voice commerce next year, you won’t be a true omnichannel retailer.
Takeaway #3: Voice shopping awareness is growing
Voice-based searches jumped significantly in 2019. 55% of teens use voice search daily, which means the next generation of shoppers will be even more inclined to shop with verbal cues.
eMarketer predicted in July that 31 million Americans would use their smart speakers to browse and add items to virtual shopping carts before the end of 2019. At the time, the estimate was already an 8% increase over the same prediction made seven months prior. With respect to actual transactions, the firm forecasted that 21 million Americans would complete voice shopping orders this year.
After a busy holiday shopping season, many more consumers are aware of voice commerce and its advantages. Next year, consumers will expect their favorite retailers to offer convenient, high-quality voice commerce experiences that make their lives easier.
In other words, having a voice shopping capability will be the status quo.
Gearing up for 2020
At Blutag, we’re gearing up for massive 2020.
Those who have already deployed voice shopping apps will look to improve user experience and increase voice traffic. Those who haven’t will have a lot of catching up to do before next year’s holiday season.
Start the new decade off right by building out what will become an instrumental piece of your omnichannel retail strategy.
Create a virtual voice assistant for your brand today with Blutag.