Home Home Tech Digital assistants more often used in homes than smartphones: survey

Digital assistants more often used in homes than smartphones: survey

Consumers who own in-home digital voice assistant devices are "using their smartphones less often for entertainment and online purchasing", according to results of a new survey.

Global consulting firm Accenture notes that stand-alone, AI-powered digital voice assistant devices are being used "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".

That's to be expected, of course — that's what they're for — but in an online survey of 21,000 consumers in 19 countries, Accenture discovered that digital virtual assistants are becoming "the central hub for home activities in Australia".

Again, that's the whole point of digital assistants – they're meant to be the hub of your digital home, not just answering questions but helping you control your other connected devices, but naturally, it's always good to see this being confirmed by actual users.

These findings and more have been summarised in a new Accenture report, dubbed "Time to Navigate the Super Myway: Giving Consumers Exactly What They're Looking For" – and reveal that "7 out of 10 Australian consumers who own digital voice assistants said they use their smartphones for fewer applications in the home since acquiring the devices".

In addition, "three quarters (75%) of these owners said they use their smartphones less for entertainment, more than two thirds use them less for online purchasing and more than half for general information searches (71% and 55%, respectively)".

David Sovie, global managing director of Accenture’s High Tech business, said: "Digital voice assistant devices are challenging smartphones as the central hub for all activities in the home.

"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.”

Accenture tells us its survey shows that "ownership levels of digital voice assistant devices in Australia are projected to increase more than five times this year, reaching 23% by the end of 2018 from 4% in 2017".

"These products are not only increasing in demand, but they are also satisfying consumers’ wants and needs. More than half (58%) of respondents said they are either using or interested in using a digital voice assistant device, with the vast majority (92%) of current users either satisfied or very satisfied with these products.

"In addition to digital voice assistant devices, the survey also explored Australian consumers’ interest in augmented reality and virtual reality, which the results show extend far beyond gaming to a range of more-practical needs.

"For example, more than half (58%) 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 visualising how clothes might fit (cited by 53% of respondents) and viewing 3D manuals (50%)."

Some of these key findings again from the survey include:

  • 7 out of 10 Australian consumers who own digital voice assistants said they use their smartphones for fewer applications in the home since acquiring the devices.
  • Three quarters (75%) of these owners said they use their smartphones less for entertainment:
    • more than two thirds use them less for online purchasing (71%); and
    • more than half use them for general information searches and (55%).
  • Ownership levels of digital voice assistant devices in Australia are projected to increase more than five times this year, reaching 23% by the end of 2018 from 4% in 2017

You'll find plenty more info at the report's site at Accenture

Here's the company's infographic, the methodology used to gather survey results is below that – turn phone horizontal to see full image. 

So, what was Accenture's methodology?

"Between October and November 2017, Harris Interactive, on behalf of Accenture, conducted an online survey of 21,000 consumers in 19 countries: Australia, Brazil, Canada, China, France, Germany, India, the Netherlands, Italy, Japan, Mexico, Poland, Singapore, South Africa, Spain, Sweden, the UAE, the UK and the US. The sample in each country was representative of the online population. Ages of respondents ranged from 14 to over 55. The survey and related data modelling quantify consumer perceptions of digital devices, content and services, purchasing patterns, preference and trust in service providers, and the future of their connected lifestyles."

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Alex Zaharov-Reutt

One of Australia’s best-known technology journalists and consumer tech experts, Alex has appeared in his capacity as technology expert on all of Australia’s free-to-air and pay TV networks on all the major news and current affairs programs, on commercial and public radio, and technology, lifestyle and reality TV shows. Visit Alex at Twitter here.