70% Of Consumers Have Never Used Voice Assistant To Search For Products

Consumers are skeptical of voice assistant shopping apps, which probably explains why the majority of Americans have not yet used voice search or voice assistants to shop. And more than half don’t trust the best-known providers — Apple, Amazon, Google, Microsoft — to get it right.

RichRelevance on Monday released the results of its second annual survey on how U.S. consumers search and find products online. The survey shows the importance of commerce search and irrelevance of personalized content, and reveals that voice-assisted shopping is still far from mainstream, although consumers want personalized and image search.

The study of more than 1,000 U.S. shoppers conducted in May found that 86% believe the search box is extremely important or important when shopping on a retailer’s web or mobile site. About 80% of respondents always or often use site search while shopping, and 72% are likely to leave a retail site that doesn’t provide good search results.

When it comes to voice search, Google has an edge compared on Amazon, but many consumers still have their doubts. A whopping 70% have not yet used a voice assistant to search for product information or purchase products. Among consumers who use voice search to shop, Google Assistant leads with nearly 14%, followed by Apple Siri at 13%, Amazon Alexa with nearly 9%, Microsoft Cortana at about 3.5%, and other at 1.7%.

Interestingly, 63% do not believe any of the current leaders -- Amazon, Apple, Google, or Microsoft -- will be the ones to eventually get it right. There are too many other players in the space that keep a lower profile, such as SoundHound, yet have a powerful platform. When asked to name the company that eventually will get it right, survey respondents are more equally split between Google at 13% and Amazon at 12%.

Amazon voice search is the least likely to be used by younger shoppers ages 18 to 29, but they are 43% more likely to have used voice search than other generations at 30%. About 20% in this group use Apple Siri, 17% use Google Assistant to shop, and 11% use Amazon.

Young shoppers believe that Google, at 18%, and Apple, at 15%, have the best chance of eventually getting voice shopping right -- compared with Amazon at 13%.

With all the hype around personalization, the study found that consumers are not looking for more personalized search results. Nearly 37% said it didn’t matter either way, voting neutral; 30% said no; and 28% said yes.

Mike Ni, CMO of RichRelevance, notes that when consumers visit a retail site, sessions using search account for 45% of ecommerce revenue, yet the study shows that many companies still do not deliver when it comes to relevance and accuracy, particularly on mobile.

About 28% said irrelevant products and searches when searching on a company’s website is the most frustrating experience, and 24% can’t find the products they search for. Nearly 18% said search functions do not recognize the words used.  

Mobile search -- which young shoppers tend to use most -- does not seem to have much of an impact on consumers. Overall, only about 30% of shoppers who use mobile devices to shop, compared with laptop and desktop, believe they get worse search results. Some 10% believe they get better results and nearly 63% haven’t noticed a difference. Nearly 7% think they get better results.

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