How many consumers walk into the kitchen each morning and ask Alexa to play their favorite music, what the weather is for the day, or the latest news? Voice assistants are popping up all over the world, with 45 million currently in use in the United States alone. By 2019, 67 million of these devices are predicted to make their way into homes and offices, opening the door for marketers and brands to advertise their products and services in new and exciting ways.
Currently, according to eMarketer, the Amazon Echo owns 70 percent of the voice assistant market share. Google Home is in second place for the moment, and Sonos, Sony, and Apple are racing to claim their piece of this burgeoning category.
Almost ten years ago, the talk was all about mobile applications. Today, with millions of people using Alexa and other devices to ask for information, make shopping lists, and order items, the next logical step is for brands to take advantage of this unique prospect. Because shoppers have already made a shift from brick-and-mortar stores to online retailers, such as Amazon, with purchase history and brand preferences already sitting in a database, simply asking Alexa to restock supply is seamless (also giving the Echo line an advantage over other assistants, like Google Home).
While voice recognition won’t replace traditional advertising completely in the sense of establishing brand awareness, it will change the way consumers buy merchandise. Ben Huard, GO’s Managing Director of the Atlanta office, explains, “Just like mobile marketing, voice is going to command its own variety of branded and interactive content. Marketers and retailers need to start thinking now about what capabilities these voice assistants will have tomorrow. The brand that does this first and does it well will win.”