What Happened To Voice Search?

One of the things I like most about my car is the voice-control features and search features that allow me to do things like turn on the air conditioning, or search for a Chevron gas station to find high-octane fuel.

The voice controls in my car rely on a couple of different technologies such as Apple Siri off my connected iPhone and Google voice. Through those two technologies, I can search with my voice for just about anything. The results are pretty accurate.

Experts at OC&C Strategy Consultants in 2018 expected smart speakers to fuel growth, suggesting voice shopping would catapult a $2 billion business to $40 billion by 2022. That doesn't seem to be the case.

Despite the avid use of voice search by myself and others, data from The Manifest released today reveals that people use voice search less today, compared with a few years ago, despite benefits like accessibility and conveniences.



The Manifest surveyed a group of 494 people in the U.S. this year about their voice-search habits, and found that while consumers still use voice-search technology, the frequency has decreased. 

A similar study by The Manifest, conducted in 2018, said that 53% of respondents use voice search once a week, but only 18% of respondents use it as frequently in 2021 -- citing that security concerns, the COVID-19 pandemic and frustration over poor results may be linked to the decline, according to the data.

In 2021, nearly 60% of respondents claim they never use voice search. 

The data suggests that voice search has decreased in popularity in the past four years.

  • Some 18% of respondents said they use voice search more than once a week compared to 53% in 2018, with nearly 60% citing they never use voice-search technology in 2021
  • 62% of respondents in 2018 said they used voice search to find fact-based information such as trivia and term definitions. About 46% looked for weather, and 32% looked for news
  • 42% of people said they are more likely to use voice search to request information, while 23% issue commands, 18% find products or services, and 17% use it to communicate with others

While the use of voice search has decreased, different age groups still use it differently.

  • 63% of people older than 55 have never used voice search, while 27% of groups between the ages of 35 and 54 use it more than once a week
  • 27% among the younger generations are more likely to use voice search to issue a commands, and 52% of users 55 years and older are more likely to use voice search to request information

For active users of voice-search technology, like myself, different age groups use it for different reasons.

  • 27% of users between the ages of 18 and 34 are more likely to use voice search to issue a command like setting an alarm
  • 52% of users age 55 and older the age of 55 use voice-search technology to request information 

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