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11/03/2020

CSA Exclusive: The most popular voice assistant for shopping is…

Dan Berthiaume
Senior Editor, Technology
Dan Berthiaume profile picture

Results of a new survey exclusively provided to Chain Store Age reveal that convenience is the leading reason consumers shop via voice assistant.

A new CouponFollow survey of 1,000 U.S, adults who make online purchases at least once per week indicates that Amazon Alexa is by far the most popular voice assistant for shopping, used by 72% of respondents. Following were Google Assistant (49%), Apple’s Siri (23%), and Microsoft’s Cortana (18%) (more than one response was accepted).

Nearly half of respondents (47%) had used a virtual assistant to make online purchases at least once in their life, including 51% of millennials, 45% of Gen X, and 34% of baby boomers. For some, voice shopping is a repeat occurrence, with roughly one in three respondents using their voice assistants to make purchases at least once a month.

The most popular reason respondents utilized voice assistants to help facilitate their shopping was convenience (56%), followed by saving time (55%), saving money (26%), the general reminder to purchase essential products (22%), the ability to multitask (22%), and receiving help staying on budget (18%).

You don’t have to get off the couch to go shopping online, and you may still find plenty of options for whatever you’re in the market to buy. Fifty-seven percent of digital customers shopped through a dedicated online shopping platform (like Amazon), followed by those who went directly through a brand or company’s website (54%), used a virtual assistant through their smart speaker (41%), or shopped via social media links (36%).

virtual assistants allowed them to multitask, and 18% said it helped them to stay on budget.

Looking at drawbacks of voice shopping, 40% of respondents indicated the biggest drawbacks of virtual assistant shopping were not being able to effectively browse items and finding inaccurate search results and purchases. Many respondents were also worried about their privacy (31%) or the security of their financial data (27%).

More than half of respondents (58%) were satisfied with their overall experiences using a virtual assistant. Groceries were the most commonly purchased items with voice assistants (48%), with more than two in three respondents satisfied with the experience. 

Other frequently purchased items using voice assistants included toiletries and beauty products (38%), home essentials (36%), clothing (30%), and pet supplies (24%). Respondents had the best experience with virtual assistant shopping when ordering home decor and appliances and toiletries, while they were the least satisfied when shopping for clothing.

Sixty-one percent of respondents also indicated using virtual assistants to reorder pre-existing or saved shopping orders. More than half of respondents also admitted to recently making an impulse purchase, which typically fell into the category of electronics and technology. Earbuds, Bluetooth speakers, laptop accessories, and gaming equipment were among the more common impulse buys.

Respondents who made purchases once a week or more using voice assistants spent $136 more, on average, per month than those just clicking and browsing to buy. Compared to online shoppers who spent an average of $278, online shoppers who also used voice assistants spent $414 on average, including $170 through voice shopping specifically. 

Men (54%) significantly outpaced women (39%) as adopters of virtual assistant shopping, particularly in the category of electronics and technology. Compared to just 18% of women, 28% of men indicated they enjoyed shopping for electronics or other tech purchases through voice-activated assistants.