The Growth of Voice Speakers in the Home
So, here we are now, over 65 years after Audrey recognized spoken numbers and 55 years after Shoebox was demonstrated at the World’s Fair, Through that time, interest has been shown from everybody from doll makers to the US Department of Defense. It has been employed in our phones and our cars. Now, however, it is reaching a new level of convenience and/or voluntary intrusion, depending on your perspective.
Estimates are there are about 30 million Google Home and Amazon Echo voice speakers in American homes. Penetration is expected to reach 55% within the next four years. There are a growing number of companies like Lenovo, LG, Harmon Kardon, and even toy maker Mattel who have set out to grab a share of this rapidly growing market. What’s behind this growth, how is it impacting us, and what is next?
Convenience Trumps Privacy
Voice speakers or as some are now calling AI voice speakers are another example that people are not only willing to trade personal information and privacy for convenience but will actually pay for the privilege. Convenience is king and technology-based companies like Amazon and Google fully understand that. It also affords them something even more valuable than just the sales of these devices. The real value to these tech companies is the consumer data and insights they provide.
It is not unlike the sales of cheap printers in the 1990’s and early 2000’s. Consumers were lured in by cheap printer prices and convenience, They may not have been aware of the expensive replacement cartridges that awaited them. Companies promoting voice speakers may, in fact, be making these devices more and more affordable to gain access and insight into consumer behavior and information.
What This Means for Marketers
So, if all of this history and growth in voice recognition and ultimately AI voice speakers is interesting, what are the practical aspects for those with websites who want to sell more of their products and services? It starts with understanding that much of these activities are search related. “Alexa, find me a local rock and roll radio station.”, “Siri, who has the best pizza near us?” or “Google, what is tomorrow’s weather going to be?” are basic searches, initiated by voice rather than typing. There are already over one billion searches conducted by voice every month. By 2020, just two years from now, it is predicted about a third of all searches will be conducted without a screen. More and more people are joining the voice search option and feeling more comfortable with it, including those using voice speakers. This may help you craft verbally friendly SEO efforts along with written keyword strategies.
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