May 1, 2018 Ricky Costa

The usage of the virtual assistant (e.g. Alexa, Siri) by the US consumer continues to evolve in the American household.

New research from PricewaterhouseCoopers (PwC) evaluated how consumers interact with the smartphone virtual assistant vs. the smart speaker. The study of 1,000 US adults revealed when it comes to using a virtual assistant; multitasking is a significant predictor on how consumers choose between the two devices. According to the survey, the smart speaker is preferable when conducting common household activities such as cooking, watching TV or general multitasking.

Virtual Assistants

As a result of widespread adoption of the smartphone, US adults continue to use its virtual assistant more frequently than the new-age smart speaker – which only has a 20% adoption rate in the US as discussed in Quantum Stat’s “Evolution of the Smart Speaker” report. When comparing Alexa, Google Assistant and Cortana by device; Siri via smartphone is the most widely used modality.

virtual assistants

Future adoption of the virtual assistant is dependent on accuracy and consistency of its queries of which, 73% of respondents say is the bare minimum to complete tasks according to PwC’s survey. When respondents were asked about the likelihood of using a virtual assistant in the future; 63% of respondents chose the smart speaker virtual assistant vs. 48% via smartphone.

Most consumers are satisfied with their virtual assistant, but privacy is still a concern. The AI technology that powers smart devices, while still basic, will improve over time allowing consumers to complete more complex tasks. This improvement of functionality will come at a cost to consumer privacy. According to the study, of the respondents who didn’t use virtual assistants, 38% said they didn’t want a device listening in all the time.

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