Web Exclusive - March/April 2018

Digital Voice Assistants Are Leading the Charge


Electronics and new technologies have long been among the most motivating merchandise used in incentives, rewards and recognition, and that hasn't changed. What is changing is the types of items that are most popular, and a recent survey from Accenture shows that digital voice assistant devices are taking off.

Digital voice assistant devices—powered by artificial intelligence—are stand-alone hardware devices that use voice interfaces for a range of consumer services such as playing music, turning the heat and lights on and off, and providing news, weather and sports scores. Consumers who own in-home digital voice assistant devices are using their smartphones less often for entertainment and online purchasing, the survey showed.

The online survey of 21,000 consumers in 19 countries reveals that two-thirds (66 percent) of consumers who own digital voice assistants said they use their smartphones for fewer applications in the home since acquiring the devices Nearly two-thirds (64 percent) of these owners said they use their smartphones less for entertainment, and more than half use them less for online purchasing and general information searches (58 percent and 56 percent, respectively).

"Digital voice assistant devices are challenging smartphones as the central hub for all activities in the home," said David Sovie, global managing director of Accenture's High Tech business. "These low-cost devices deliver valuable and practical benefits and are relatively easy to use, and their rapidly growing popularity is one of the most striking trends in the high-tech industry."

The survey shows that ownership levels of digital voice assistant devices are projected to more than double this year, reaching 39 percent of the online population in India, 37 percent in the United States, 34 percent in Brazil, 33 percent in China, 26 percent in Germany, and 24 percent in the United Kingdom.

These products are not only increasing in demand, but they are also satisfying consumers' wants and needs. Nearly two-thirds (63 percent) of respondents said they are either using or interested in using a digital voice assistant device, with the vast majority (94 percent) of current users either satisfied or very satisfied with these products.

In addition to digital voice assistant devices, the survey also explored consumer interest in augmented reality (AR) and virtual reality (VR), which the results show extend far beyond gaming to a range of more-practical needs. For example, more than two-thirds (67 percent) of respondents said they are interested in AR or VR to learn about a place they are visiting and to learn new skills or techniques. Other areas of interest include visualizing how clothes might fit (cited by 61 percent of respondents) and experiencing a sporting event live (52 percent).

Be sure to keep an eye on the digital voice assistant and other technological trends to be sure you're offering the latest and greatest products to motivate peak performance.