A 1,000-person survey has found that 15% of UK consumers now use voice search at least once a week, while almost two-thirds (66%) of respondents have never used voice search. The remaining 19% had dabbled with voice search, using it on an irregular or infrequent basis.
Some 55% of respondents felt that voice search will be important in the future, with the remaining 45% stating it will not be important.
So finds a study in the Uberall Voice Search Readiness Report 2019, which also analysed the top reasons British people are not adopting voice search more frequently. Either they are not used to it (27%), they do not feel that it is the most efficient means of search (19%), or they do not feel that it is accurate enough (18%).
Some 11% of UK-based respondents stated they did not use voice search as they felt uncomfortable talking to AI-based technology. The same number – 11% – said they were embarrassed about using voice recognition technology in front of other people.
“Our research shows that as consumers get used to voice products in their everyday lives, it is more likely that it will have a broader adoption rate,” says Norman Rohr, SVP of Marketing at Uberall. “This has already been proven through the rise in smart speaker sales and in-car voice technology in 2018.”
When asking frequent users where they were most often using voice search, most were using it in their own home (52%) or in the car where using their hands was not an option (15%). Other responses included whilst they were walking to a destination, at work, in a restaurant/shop/cafe, and on public transport.
“Voice search technology has to become more user friendly before it wins the hearts and minds of the general public,” says Rohr. “From this data, businesses can start asking questions such as ‘is a consumer likely to search for my business while out driving or walking to a destination, or at home?’”
Consumers searching for businesses via voice search
Interestingly, Uberall found that a third (33%) of UK respondents were using voice search as a means to locate business information at least some of the time.
The number one reason users gave for their lack of voice adoption to search for business information was the lack of natural dialogue (18%), followed closely by the lack of results provided for the search query (14%).
The limits of voice search technology seem to be the biggest hurdle stopping it from gaining universal adoption, while the biggest opportunity for businesses to get ahead of their competition seems to be in offering consumers deals, sales or promotions that are tied to voice search (9%).
“VSR [Voice Search Readiness] is an evolving opportunity for businesses to reach more customers easily and improve their online presence,” says Rohr. “As voice technology is constantly improving and finding its way into our homes, workplaces and transport, adoption is only likely to increase and, although 15% may not seem like a lot of regular users, that’s a significant proportion of people that businesses aren’t reaching every day when they decide to neglect voice search readiness.”