Study: Smart Speakers are Changing the Way We Select Products



New research from comScore finds that smart speakers have a propensity to change the way we shop, and can even undermine brand loyalty.


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A recent study conducted by comScore sheds light on how smart speakers are influencing how we choose the products we buy. According to the research, digital interfaces are driving us to prioritize “items” over “brand names.”

These findings are significant to brands and marketers as smart speaker adoption and voice search continues to rise. Per a January 2018 report, it’s estimated that 39 million Americans now own a smart speaker, comprising roughly 16 percent of the total population.

Here are a few key findings from comScore’s latest report:

  • 18 percent of respondents said that when ordering an item, their smart speaker suggested a different brand than the one they typically order. This translates to a different suggestion every 1 in 5 orders.
  • When using their smart speakers, 42 percent of respondents corrected a category item such as detergent in lieu of a brand (e.g. Tide).
  • 25 percent reported that they were offered a deal or discount by their smart speaker for a different brand (other than the one for which they searched).

“When you go to the grocery store, you go to the aisle with your favorite product and buy the brand you are familiar with, but when people are ordering through smart speakers, nearly half the time, they’re actually not saying the brand name, so the likelihood of them getting the result or retaining the brand they want are diminished because of that,” explained comScore spokesperson Ryan Williams in MediaPost.

Additional factors Williams cites as driving this trend include the fact that orders through smart speakers and other voice-based interfaces do not allow for consumers to get a visual representation of what they’re ordering. Further, these devices have a higher chance of placing incorrect orders due to the misunderstanding of a voice command. With the probability that you won’t know what is actually going to show up at your door in this case, remaining loyal to a brand becomes more challenging.

Finally, what the smart speaker ultimately asks a consumer is out of their control. With this said, these platforms act as “gatekeepers,” as termed by Williams, that have the deciding authority over what recommendations are shared regardless of what a consumer has ordered previously.

For more on the future of voice and evolving trends in commerce, join us at SMWNYC this April (24-27). Register here.

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