Half of Connected Teens Globally Say They’re Using Voice-Enabled Digital Assistants

January 12, 2017

One of the newer technologies getting buzz these days is the voice-enabled digital assistant – and new data from Accenture [pdf] suggests that it’s not all hype. In fact, the use of embedded voice-enabled digital assistants in smartphones and PC/laptops has reached the mainstream among 14-17-year-olds, per Accenture’s survey of almost 26,000 consumers across 26 countries.

The results indicate that 31% of 14-17-year-olds regularly use voice-enabled digital assistants, with another 20% just getting started using them. Adoption – not surprisingly – declines with age, but still remains above one-third (38%) of Millennials (18-34) and higher than one-quarter (27%) of Gen Xers (35-54). Although only 15% of Boomers (55+) are currently using voice-enabled digital assistants, another 35% are interested in doing so.

Overall, that means that a strong majority – ranging from a high of 84% of 14-17-year-olds to a low of 50% of those aged 55 and up – of consumers are either currently using or interested in using voice-enabled digital assistants.

China (55%), India (55%) and the US (46%) emerge as high-usage countries based on current adoption, per the report, while Canada (27%) and Germany (28%) are on the opposite end of the spectrum, with voice-enabled digital assistants not having made as much of their mark there.

The key benefit provided by interactions with computer-based applications as opposed to human advisors is that they’re available anytime, with 84% of respondents agreeing with this. Roughly three-quarters also agree that computer-based applications are less biased (68%), faster to engage (68%), faster to provide service (65%) and communicate more politely (64%).

Late last year, Gartner predicted that by 2019, one-fifth of all user interactions with smartphones would take place via virtual personal assistants. In an accompanying survey of more than 3,000 consumers in the US, UK and China, Gartner revealed that 42% in the US and 32% in the UK had used virtual personal assistants on their smartphones in the prior 3 months, with Apple Siri and Google Now leading the way.

The anticipated growth in use of voice assistants will provide opportunities for paid search advertising, according to Juniper Research, which last year forecast that more than $12 billion in annual ad spending would be dedicated to this medium by 2021.

About the Data: The Accenture data is based on a survey conducted online between October and November 2016, among 25,996 consumers in 26 countries: Australia, Brazil, Canada, China, Czech Republic, France, Germany, Hungary, India, Ireland, Italy, Japan, Mexico, the Netherlands, Poland, Romania, Saudi Arabia, Singapore, Slovakia, South Africa, Spain, Sweden, Turkey, the United Arab Emirates, the United Kingdom and the United States. The sample in each country is representative of the online population, with respondents ranging in age from 14 to 55 plus.

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