eMarketer: 60M Americans To Use Virtual Assistants Once Monthly In 2017

Personal assistants will become the next phase of advertising and marketing for search professionals, connecting consumers to the brand's personality through smartphones, as well as home hubs such as Amazon Echo, Google Home and other devices. 

In fact, this year about 60.5 million Americans will use a voice-enabled virtual assistant equipped with Siri, Cortana or Google Assistant at least once monthly to search for information or connect with a brand, which equates to 27.5% of smartphone users or nearly one in five Americans, according to data released Monday.

eMarketer estimates that individuals between the ages of 25 and 34 are the heaviest users of digital assistants. This group represents 26.3%.

Some 35.6 million Americans will use a voice-enabled virtual assistant home hubs such as Amazon Echo and Google Home at least once monthly in 2017 -- up 128.9% from 2016, according to eMarketer.

Millennials are the most comfortable when it comes to using voice-enabled digital assistants. Some 33.5% will use their virtual assistants this year.

This year, eMarketer's forecast estimates 29.9 million will use some sort of digital voice assistant at least once per month on any device, rising to 35.8 million in 2018 and 39.3 million in 2019.

Gen X, individuals born between 1965 and 1980 will account for 15.6 million in 2017, rising slightly to 16.7 million in 2018 and 17.2 million in 2019. Baby boomers born between 1945 and 1964 will account for 9.7 million, 9.9 million and 10.1 million, respectively.

Overall, eMarketer estimates the Amazon Echo Internet-connected hub will attract 70.6% market share this year, compared with Google Home with 23.8%. The remaining market share, per eMarketer, will belong to smaller players such as Lenovo, LG, Harmon Kardon and Mattel.

Harmon Kardon's home device will feature Cortana, Microsoft's window-based virtual assistant. The device is expected to begin shipping this year. In a 2016 blog post, Microsoft writes about Cortana shipping in hardware this year after making a software developer kit available.

eMarketer expects software use embedded in hardware hubs to grow by 23.1% in 2017. In addition to Microsoft Cortana, other examples include Amazon’s Alexa, Apple Siri, and Google Now.

The software provides intelligence. Amazon Echo might have the largest share, but according to research from Stone Temple Consulting it is not the most accurate when it comes to delivering information. The consulting firm found Google Assistant to be the most accurate, with Microsoft Cortana close behind.

Google Assistant answered 68.1% of the questions, with a 90.6% complete and correct rate. Cortana answered 56.5% of the questions, with an 81.9% complete and correct rate. Siri answered 21.7% of the questions, with a 62.2% complete and correct rate. Alexa answered 20.7% of the questions with an 87% complete and correct rate.

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