voice tech

Insights and Statistics on Voice Technology

Ottomatias Peura

Mar 17, 2021

6 min read

The freshest and most interesting voice technology insights for 2021

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Voice technology is moving fast and old insights turn bad quickly. Here we have collected some of the freshest and most interesting insights from various voice related surveys and researches.

The pandemic has certainly affected voice tech, too, and germs-free is quickly becoming more important than overall hands-free.

Reasons for using voice


Adobe published their 2020 Voice Survey which contains a lot of interesting data points about voice tech. You can find the full report here. Some of the most interesting insights include:

  • 31% of voice users count sanitation as a benefit of voice tech

  • 37% would use voice user interface to check bank balance

  • 29% would use voice to book doctor's appoitment (in fact, we have created a configuration for such use case. You can see a demo here)

  • 28% would request grocery delivery by voice (you can read more about voice and grocery shopping here)

  • 18% of users currently use voice for using health and fitness apps

  • 86% says voice tech could make business/events more sanitary. This figure has increased significantly due to the pandemic.

  • As you can imagine, home automation is a common use case for voice: 56% of users would open door with voice, 55% would use elevator controls and 49% vending machine controls. We have built our home automation demo, too and you can try it out here

  • Only one in four use voice beyond simple searches (52% for maps/driving, 51% for text and chat and 46% for music control). This might partly do with the fact that voice search is not available in most applications and websites. Read about our approach to voice search here

  • 57% say that better understanding of voice tech would cause them to use voice more. We see voice still having kind of a chicken-egg -problem, where efficient and natural user experiences are still rare and hence not many developers think of adding voice features to their apps. When we start seeing first really well working examples, voice will quickly become a dominant user interaction modality

  • 62% feel awkward using voice with others present. This is why voice-only solutions do not work. The user should have the ability to switch between voice and other interaction modalities seamlessly.

  • Skill discovery is still a problem with legacy voice platforms and the amount of users who do not know how to complete a task with voice tech went up 14% year-over-year. Onboarding users to voice is very important

  • 49% of respondents to Adobe survey predict that by 2025 voice will be better able to suit their needs

eMarketer released some interesting data points. In their research the key takeaway is that voice assistants have reacthed the critical mass:

  • There's 128 million monthly active users in the US for voice assistants. This amounts to almost 40% of all US internet users and one third of the overall population

  • Smartphones and smart speakers are the most popular voice assistant devices

In the report, eMarketer mentions:

Over time, we expect the number of voice-assistant users to rise even further as the software finds its way into more devices, including cars, wearables, smart TVs, appliances and other connected gadgets.

Supporting eMarketer research, Gartner's Intelligence Report: Optimizing Voice Search and Features for Mobile Commerce finds that:

  • 26% use smart speakers and voice assistants at least once a week

  • 39% of US population uses voice features on their smartphones

  • But still, only 15% of brands analyzed provide voice search on mobile apps. Based on our research, this has to do with the fact that there hasn't prveiously been good developer tools available for such experiences.

  • While mobile commerce and voice is a match made in heaven, 90% of consumers do not use smart speaker to shop. This probably has to do with problems in product discovery with voice-only assistants

  • Hands-free is obviously one great benefit for voice tech and 32% of respondents reporterd interested in hands-free voice tech.

SoundHound conducted a research on the business value of voice assistants. Some interesting facts in that research include:

  • 84% of respondents are deploying voice assistants to mobile apps, compared to 54% on smart speakers. Voice is moving away from dedicated devices and will rather become a part of all digital experiences.

  • The most common business functions to offer voice solutions are customer service (81%), sales (52%), store operations and marketing (38%). IT and HR have the lowest voice adoption with 6% and 3% respectively.

  • Perceived end-user benefits of voice include better customer experience, customer satisfaction, hands-free access and faster. You can read about the advantages of voice user interfaces in this artlcle

End user benefits for voice

  • Statista made researcch on barriers for voice adotion. It's interesting to see that up to 73% of respondents see accuracy being the biggest adoption for voice tech. 38% of respondents see complexity of deployment and integration as the being a barrier.

Speechly can help in both fronts. Our speech recognition technology is without customization on par with the leading voice providers and by customizing the models for the specific acoustic environment or vocabulary, we can get even better results.

Barriers for voice adoption

  • Another research by Statista mentions that worldwide there's 4.2 billion voice assistant devices in use.

  • Gartner finds one fourth of digital workers using a virtual employee assist by 2021.

  • Capgemini mentions 77% of consumers intending to increase their use of touchless technologies – and that the rate of use of online sales will increase by 30% by the end of 2020. Another proof for voice having a larger role in post-pandemic world

Other facts

  • In 2019, voice search was worth $2 Billion USD according to WebFX. Once voice search enters mobile devices and websites, this figure will most probably be a lot bigger

  • In fact, already two years ago, one third of US population was using voice search according to eMarketer

  • BrightLocal finds that men are 30% more likely than women to use voice search. It might have to do with the fact that voice recognition has had significant race and gender biases

  • Juniper Research estimated in 2018 that by 2023 there will be 8 billion digital voice assistants in use. The same report finds that voice commerce will reach $80 billion per annum by the same year

  • According to consulting powerhouse PWC, 57% of users use voice monthly rather than typing when searching something. No wonder, as voice is up to four times faster than typing on a smart phone

  • Narvar finds the age group 45-60 being the fastest growing segment for voice shopping. This is inline with our own research for users for a Speechly-powered grocery shopping application. For that application, the amount of over 40-years-old was significantly higher than for legacy shopping experiences without voice functionalities

About Speechly

Speechly is a YC backed company building tools for speech recognition and natural language understanding. Speechly offers flexible deployment options (cloud, on-premise, and on-device), super accurate custom models for any domain, privacy and scalability for hundreds of thousands of hours of audio.

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