Smart speakers aren’t gaining traction for shopping transactions

Anne Freier | February 5, 2020

App Business

Smart speakers are gaining traction as a means to shop, but that traction is a little lower than previously anticipated.

According to the latest forecast by eMarketer, 21.6 million people will have made a purchase using smart speakers in 2020.

That’s lower than the analysis firm’s Q2 2019 estimate of 23.6 million.

At the same time, it’s expected that smart speaker shopping will hit a milestone in the US reaching 10.8% of all digital shoppers.

One of the reasons why potential shoppers may not be using smart speakers to make purchases frequently is that buyers are still concerned about secure payments and privacy.

They also cannot view products which means that shoppers will usually make more repeat purchases on speakers.

“There’s a good deal of friction in the voice-based buying process because people can’t see what they’ll actually be purchasing unless they have a screen on their smart speaker,” eMarketer principal analyst Victoria Petrock said. “So, most of the purchases made today are reorders and things that don’t need to be inspected.”

In Q2 2019, 27.9% of smart speaker users were expected to make purchases with their devices in 2020. This percentage has now been lowered to 26%.

But that’s not to say people are using their smart speakers less. On the contrary, 81.1% of users were listening to audio and 77.8% made inquiries via smart speakers.

“Though there are thousands of smart speaker apps that do everything from let you order takeout to find recipes or play games, many consumers don’t realize that they need to take extra and more specific steps to utilize all capabilities,” Petrock said. “Instead, they stick with direct commands to play music, ask about the weather or ask questions, because those are basic to the device.”