Voice shopping in the UK to reach 3.5 billion pounds by 2022

London - Could the rise of voice shopping - shopping through voice-activated devices like Amazon Echo and Google Home, change the way consumers shop forever?​ ​ Imagine you are busy getting ready for work and you accidentally rip your last pair of good tights. Instead of grabbing your keys and running out the door, you can simply activate Alexa and ask her to add another pack of tights to your weekly Amazon deliveryor have them delivered straight to your office.

S imilar to the emergence of the infomercial, online and mobile shopping, the rise of voice shopping is predicted to revolutionise how UK consumers shop as more consumers seek out easier ways to complete their purchases. UK consumers are predicted to spend 3.5 billion pounds shopping through their smart speakers by 2022 according to data from OC&C Strategy Consultants, thereby changing the retail landscape for good. At the moment one-tenth of all UK households own a smart speaker and by 2022 this number is predicted to increase to 48 percent.

How Voice Shopping is set to revolutionise how UK consumers shop

Amazon’s Echo remains the dominant player in the voice commerce market, holding a clear lead over Google Home. 8 percent of UK households own an Amazon Echo device versus 2 percent of households with a Google Home. It is predicted that groceries, as well as other low-value fast-moving consumer goods (FMCG) such as toiletries, beauty items, and accessories, form the bulk of the purchases made through voice shopping as browsing opportunities remain limited and consumers tend to make purchases with speed in mind. Data shows that 70 percent of voice purchases are made on a specific ‘known’ product, usually a repeated or known order.

Voice shopping in the UK to reach 3.5 billion pounds by 2022

For brands looking to solidify their position in the growing voice commerce sector, reaching Amazon’s ‘choice’ status could be key. As browsing is limited with voice shopping, the online giant offers shoppers recommendations, usually prioritising the Amazon ‘choice.’ These tend to be a previously purchased item or one that is popular and well-priced, with a number of good customer reviews and a solid supply chain performance for speedy delivery. UK consumers are very likely (85 percent) to accept Amazon’s recommended product, which can typically boost pre-choice status sales by around three times.

While maintaining an Amazon ‘choice’ status can be difficult for some retailers, they can also develop a set of skills, similar to mobile apps, which can be accessed through smart speakers. At the moment this channel has had limited investment from retailers, only 39 ‘skills’ exist within the shopping category, but to drive incremental spend retailers can capitalise on consumers’ spontaneous or distressed purchases. New tights anyone? In addition, providing inspiration for a new recipe, for example, could also encourage additional purchases. Building trust is also essential for retailers to succeed in voice shopping as only 39 percent of consumers trust the personalised product selection from smart speakers.

“It’s clear that shopping with voice is going to account for a substantial and growing share of the retail market, presenting both a challenge and an opportunity for businesses that can get ahead of the curve,” commented Will Hayllar, Partner and Global Head of Consumer Goods at OC&C in a statement.

“There are different paths to success in the voice category. A key consideration for retailers is understanding what business objectives they want to serve, then tailoring their voice proposition accordingly. For consumer goods companies, the focus should be on prioritising the products most likely to be shopped through this channel. For both retailers and consumer goods businesses, assessing how their brand plays to the strengths of different ‘skills’, is also crucial to maximise their success.”

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