Commentary

Behavorial Changes Seen More In Men Who Own Virtual Assistants

Smart speakers from Amazon, Google, and Microsoft have been touted as the future, but not all consumers are ready to commit to these digital devices. In fact 63% of consumers participating in a survey released Tuesday by Toluna, a digital consumer insights company, are "concerned" or "very concerned" that their personal information is being recorded via a voice-activated machine.

Men, 65%, are slightly more concerned about being recorded compared with women, 61%, according to the  The survey findings analyze and compared the behavior of those who own with those who don't own virtual assistants such as Amazon Echo, Google Home and others.

Female non-owners -- 20% of the group -- say they don’t need more technology in their life vs. 11% of men.

Virtual assistant ownership is more likely to impact the behavior of men than women, with more of an impact on shopping, online search, and media consumption behaviors.

Some 67% of those who own a virtual assistant primarily use it to shop and compare prices, compared with 61% of those who use it to tune into music; 60%, check on weather; 55% get questions answered; and 55%, check sports scores.

About 53% say owning a virtual assistant has resulted in them making fewer in-store purchases. This number rises to 60% among Millennials.

Only 12% of virtual assistant owners say that their virtual assistant has had no impact on their shopping behavior. Some 22% of females say the technology has had no impact on their shopping behavior.

About 53% say owning a virtual assistant has resulted in them making fewer in-store purchases. This number rises to 60% among Millennials.

Virtual assistants also have a major impact on other media consumption. Six-in-ten virtual assistant owners say they read and watch traditional media channels less frequently because many ask the virtual assistant to read the news to them. About 22% of women say it has had no impact on their media consumption, compared with 6% of men.

Cost, security, and negative perceptions regarding usefulness are the biggest barriers to purchase for consumers who do not own a voice-activated virtual assistant.

Millennials, 60%, are more concerned about the cost than other generations.

Security is a concern for about 32% of non-owners and 31% say they don’t need it or think they would use it.

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