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Talking to Siri and Alexa may not be so embarrassing anymore

Talking to Siri and Alexa may not be so embarrassing anymore
[Photo: Chad Madden/Unsplash]

Thanks to smart speakers, we’re more comfortable talking to voice assistants in front of other people.

That’s one takeaway from a survey of 1,000 U.S. consumers by Adobe. The company found that smart speaker owners are three times more likely than non-owners to use voice assistants on phones, four times more likely on laptops, six times more likely in cars, and 13 times more likely on wearables. Among those owners, 72% also said they’re comfortable using voice with other people around, versus 29% for non-owners. Overall, 76% of smart speaker owners say their voice assistant usage has increased over the last year, and 44% report using these assistants multiple times per day.

As for what those users are doing, music and weather still dominate, with 70% and 64% of smart speaker owners using voice assistants for those activities, respectively. Other popular activities include asking “fun” questions (53%), searching for things online (47%), setting alarms or reminders (46%), checking the news (46%), and conducting basic research (35%). Adobe says some emerging use cases include making calls (36%), controlling smart home devices (32%), and shopping (30%).

That said, only 25% of smart speaker owners report placing one-time orders by voice, and only 21% say they use the devices to reorder frequent purchases. Product research, shopping lists, and price comparisons are much more popular.

That’s not great news for Amazon, whose Alexa assistant struggled with product research in a recent test by Loup Ventures. A report last month by The Information also dialed back some of the hype on voice shopping, quoting unnamed sources who said that just 2% of Alexa users had shopped with the assistant in 2018, and 90% of those shoppers didn’t bother trying it again.

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