According to Statista, over 50% of households in the United States have a smart speaker in them today,and that number is expected to grow to 75% of households by 2025. We use Alexa, Siri, or Google Assistant to play music, shop, switch lights on, answer the doorbell, and even read our email to us.
The largest tech companies - Amazon, Apple, and Google - consider dominating that market as the next horizon in the war to get customers on their respective platforms. Amazon, for example, has adopted an 'Alexa Everywhere' strategy, which has aimed to put Alexa into everything imaginable from smart speakers and headphones, to microwaves, rings, clocks, cars, and anything else you can think of. This is Amazon's play to make Alexa the go-to voice assistant. Most would agree that Amazon has been very successful in their efforts. As of two years ago (Nov 2019), Amazon had sold over 100 million Echo devices, integrated Alexa with 85,000 smart home products, and its app store listed over 100,000 skills.
Google has similarly closely integrated Google Assistant with their flagship Gmail and office productivity suite, as well as several third party apps.
While the revenue model around these smart voice assistants is still evolving, the goal is surely to dominate and then monetize voice search, much as Google does in the text search arena. What that might mean is a day when you say “Ok Google! Purchase toothpaste” and Google decides which brand of toothpaste it will send to you (or at least ‘suggest’ to you). That might also mean that all the “brand equity” built painstakingly by Colgate and Crest will not matter unless they pay Google! The only brand that matters is Google. Or Amazon. Or Apple.
Much of the immense progress in voice and video processing makes it imperative for retailers and brands to be aware of these new technologies and their applications that are transforming the industry. In the Silicon Road portfolio, Knit has created a video feedback platform to better understand the voice of Gen Z. Knit replaces the need for expensive focus groups and traditional voiceless surveys that lack the thematic analysis that comes with video.
It is imperative that every retailer and brand that wants to thrive in the digital age figures out how they will participate in a future where we as consumers will want to say what is on our mind!