Juniper Research forecasts 8 billion digital voice assistants in use by 2023, up from 2.5 billion in 2018. However, the biggest growth will come in the form of Smart TVs, which will grow over 100% in the next five years.
The researcher attributes the growth of smartphone assistants to Google Assistant and Siri, with Amazon’s Alexa setting the pace as leader. These voice assistants owe their success, however, to hardware revenues – which remain the only way to monetize consumer voice assistants.
According to the Juniper whitepaper, ‘The Digital Assistants of Tomorrow’, current usage of OEM-based voice assistants is estimated at 46.5% of smartphones worldwide. The preference to use voice assistants has the unintended consequence of reducing screen time on smartphones.
There are also indications that smart speaker voice assistants are becoming integrated in to daily routines in a way that voice assistants on other platforms are not. This means that voice-only interactions will become increasingly expected in the future.
“Despite this, smart displays are a voice assistant device category that has emerged strongly within the past 12 months, alongside tablets and tablet docks designed to offer contextual smart display functionality. Both of these developments hint that voice assistants are now looking to provide multimodal support, with Google in particular noting that more than half of Assistant interactions on smartphones involve both voice and touch,” noted James Moar, research analyst and author of the paper.
The other Juniper paper, Digital Voice Assistants: Platforms, Revenues & Opportunities 2019-2023, notes that, as demand for multi-platform assistants increases, standalone apps, made by independent vendors for smartphones and tablets, will decline. Juniper expects revenues from these apps to begin to fall in key markets from 2022.
The big exception here is China, where companies like WeChat and Alibaba provide app-based offerings alongside speakers that are not part of an operating system. This means that China will have 78% of voice assistant apps installed globally in the next 5 years.
Voice commerce takes off but
Juniper’s report also shows that voice commerce will grow substantially; reaching over $80 billion per annum by 2023. However, this includes money transfer and purchases of digital goods alongside its use for more traditional purchases.
“We expect the majority of voice commerce to be digital purchases, until digital assistants offer truly seamless cross-platform experiences” remarked Moar. “Connected TVs and smart displays are vital here, as they can provide a visual context that is lacking in smart speakers.”