The use of voice activated virtual assistants has rocketed in UK homes this year. The latest figures from YouGov claim 1 in 10 Brits now own at least one device – but just how are Alexa and pals enhancing British consumers’ lives? Are smart speakers actually making us smarter? And are they using these devices to engage with brands?
Almost 20% of Brits that have a voice assistant in the home use it to tell them how long to boil their eggs, according to a new survey by digital agency Code Computerlove that polled more than 1,000 smart speaker owners.
Unsurprisingly, the most popular use was to play music or the radio (65%) and half of owners use them for news and weather reports.
Other common uses include travel updates (16.2%) and playing audiobooks/podcasts (8.2%).
Interestingly, only 7% of users have ever bought anything via their smart speaker.
Alexa, make me funnier and more attractive
When asked what they wish their home assistant could help them with, one in five Brits said they’d like their voice assistant to make them funnier and more attractive.
21% want help with joke-telling, and almost 10% would like their voice assistants to help them with their flirting and dating skills. 12% of parents also want their smart speakers to distract their children.
Many Brits would also like some help learning a second language, with well-over a third of respondents citing this on their voice assistant ‘wish list’.
Looking at combined results, most smart speaker users really want Alexa to act as their PA to help with day-to-day chores such as passing on messages, calendar reminders for major events, booking tickets, menu planning and paying bills.
1 in 4 Brits enjoy Alexa in the bedroom
The survey also looked at where in the house virtual assistant usage is most prevalent. The lounge came in at number one (almost 60%), followed by the kitchen (38%), and then the bedroom (26%). And almost 1 in 10 have had a chat with their virtual assistant in the bathroom.
Not all consumers are totally in love with their device
Despite 40% of consumers using their smart speaker daily, and a further 40% at least once a week, 60% said what puts them off using it more (or doing having additional conversations with their voice devices) is that it either doesn’t understand them properly, gives wrong answers, doesn’t do what they need it to do, or it bores them.
The other 33% simply forgot to use it!
One in five consumers are worried about the data voice assistants are gathering on them .
20% of those questioned indicated that they are concerned about the data they believe voice assistants are collecting.
A further indication that consumers have trust issues with their virtual assistants was that 40% of users said they wouldn’t be surprised to learn that their smart speaker had been listening to and storing all of their private conversations.
In January this year, previous research by Code Computerlove found that voice assistants were the technology consumers were most interested in using in 2018, whilst also highlighting the risk of disappointing experiences as the technology continues to mature.
This new survey, carried out with OnePoll, aimed to explore, in more detail, how consumers are using these devices in their day-to-day lives.
Many consider smart speakers to be the future of home automation – and there is certainly good progress being made here as more homeowners link their smart home heating, lighting and security technology to their voice controlled technology.
Voice-controlled devices are here to stay, and we do expect this to be an exciting space for innovation in the future, where consumers will go beyond the timer and weather functionality to enhance their lives in increasingly rich ways.
More information about the survey findings can be found here
Louis Georgiou, managing director, Code Computerlove