Voice-Controls Making Mobile, Desktop Devices Less Important For Online Commerce

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Some 19% of consumers have made a purchase using a voice-controlled device in the past 12 months, according to a study released Wednesday.

The Future of Retail report from Walker Sands is based on a U.S. consumer survey of more than 1,600 adults. One of the more interesting trends from the survey suggests the device is becoming less important as voice-driven, Internet of Things, and zero UI technology continue to connect consumers.

Even in its early stages, 15% of consumers say they always or often make purchase by voice.

Some 19% say they have made a purchase through Amazon Echo or another voice-controlled device in the past year, and 33% plan to make a purchase one in the next year.

Nearly one-fourth of consumers own a voice-controlled device, such as Amazon or Google Home, 16% and 6%, respectively. Another 20% plan to purchase one this year.

Millennials are more inclined to purchase through voice-connected systems. In fact, 37% of Millennials, ages 26 through 35, say they either always or often shop online via voice-controlled devices. And 43% of consumers in that group report having made a voice-controlled purchase during the past year.

There are concerns about purchasing through voice devices. The top, security at 38%; privacy, 33%; lack of visuals, 31%; uncertain about price and payment process, 29%; difficulty of voice interactions, 24%; and even an inability to search across products, 22%.

Given this technology, the survey found nearly half of participating consumers prefer to shop via a nontraditional channel, such as mobile, desktop or voice-controlled device, compared with 54% who still prefer to go into a store and have a traditional experience.

Still, more than 80% of those participating in the survey said they had not made a voice-driven purchase and 48% said they were not likely to do so.

About 61% of shoppers said they shop online at least once monthly. But more than half of the shoppers still visit physical stores at least weekly.

Exclusive discounts seem to drive mobile app purchases. Some 65% of those participating in the study said they have mobile shopping apps on their phone, and 66% said they made a purchase through one of those apps. About 29% said they always or often do most of their shopping via mobile app, and 38% always or often shop on mobile websites.

But those apps are likely to link to a marketplace, such as Amazon, Ebay or Etsy. In fact, 51% have a marketplace app, rather than a retailer, 40%, and brand application at 13%.

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