Voice search is dramatically on the increase and according to Comscore it’s anticipated by 2020 50% of search queries will be voice driven (Comscore, 2017).  In addition to the Comscore voice search prediction there’s a whole host of other support for this huge wave of change  toward a move from ten blue links and a search box.  Something which is important to note however, is the continued confusion between voice search and voice actions and predictions.  Many predictions do not appear to separate conversational search (using voice activation to query a search engine results index) and conversational actions (using voice activation to use Google Actions, Alexa Skills or Google Assistant for example).  These are not the same.

Let’s take a look at some of the statistics on voice search currently doing the rounds:

Voice search statistics

  1. Gartner predicts by 2020 some 30% of searches will be undertaken without a screen.
  2. According to Alpine.AI In January 2018 alone there were over a billion searches using voice search.
  3. Gartner predicts by 2021 early adopter brands will increase revenue by 30% by redesigning websites to cater for visual and voice search.
  4. Voice Shopping Set to Jump to $40 Billion By 2022, Rising From $2 Billion Today according to OC & C Strategy Consultants.
  5. Three giants of tech are leading the viirtual assistant space State Side – Google has 4% of the market share with its Google Home device.  Cortana has 2% from Microsoft.  The Echo from Amazon has a 10% penetration.  These figures are for the US homes market.
  6. There are currently only 39 apps which have the capacity (developed skills) to integrate retail offerings into voice offerings currently in the market (according to OC & C Strategy Consultants).
  7. Amazon-Dominated Household Speaker Penetration Expected to Soar to 55% Over Next Four Years, from Current 13% (OC & C Strategy Consultants).
  8. 69% of customers using voice search know the exact product they wish to buy. (Source: OC & C Strategy Consultants).
  9. 58% of consumers have used voice search to find local business information within the last year (Bright Local)
  10. 27% visit the website of a local business after conducting a voice search (Bright Local).
  11. Only 39% of consumers trust in the “personalized” product selection of smart speakers.
  12. 39 million Americans now own a Smart Speaker (Source: Techcrunch)
  13. 30% of Smart Speaker owner say the device is replacing time spent with TV (Source: NPR)
  14. Technavio’s analysts forecast “the global voice recognition biometrics market to grow at a CAGR of 22.15% during 2014-2019”.
  15. 52% of Smart Speakers according to Google keep their voice device activated in their living room.
  16. 41% of people who own a voice-activated speaker say they feel that they are talking to a friend when talking to their device, according to 2017 research undertaken by Google and Peerless Insights.
  17. According to 2018 research by Brightlocal, 46% of voice search users look for a local business with voice search every day (Source: Brightlocal)
  18. In January 2018 alone, there were over 1 billion voice searches carried out (Source: Alpine AI)
  19. According to Google research of those people who owned a voice activated device, 72% said they use it as part of their daily routine (Source: Google / Peerless Insights)
  20. 18 million smart speakers were sold in Q4 of 2017 alone according to Voicebot AI.
  21. Search Engine Watch reports a Google Trends 35% increase in usage voice activated device since 2008, with “call Mom”, “call Dad” and “navigate home” the top voice requests.  (NB: It should be noted these are not voice searches but conversational actions using Google Assistant)
  22. According to Global Web Index, 1 in 5 adults use voice search at least monthly (20%). (source: Global Web Index)
  23. The largest user group at 25% is the 16 – 24 year old demographic who use voice search on mobile devices say Global Web Index.
  24. Mary Meeker’s Kleiner Perkins Annual Internet Trends Report 2018, cites Andrew NG, former Chief Scientist at Baidu is quoted as saying in 2014 “In two years time at least 50% of all searches are going to be either through images or speech” (Andrew NG, Baidu, 2014).  The citation comes from an interview Andrew Ng held with Fast Company.
  25. Research by Sistrix using a Google Survey sample of 26,720 answers collated from Germany, Spain, United Kingdom and United States found 74% of respondents were not using voice search at all (Source: Sistrix, 2018).  (NB: Of course, conversely this does equate to 26% using voice search).

So What?

Whilst it’s easy to be confused at how these statistics might turn into commercial opportunities right now, it’s evident from the above and the many more statistics available on voice search that the tide is turning.  Even if voice search optimisation is not on your SEO strategy radar right now you should certainly be keeping a very keen eye on this changing landscape as we move further into the age of assistive search.