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Alexa Voice Shopping Is Way Less Popular Than We Thought

Have you made a purchase with Alexa? If you haven't, you're far from alone, according to a report from The Information

Credit: Shutterstock

(Image credit: Shutterstock)

The report, citing "two people briefed on the company's internal figures," claims that only about two percent of Alexa-enabled-device owners have actually used voice shopping in 2018.

Amazon has sold about 50 million Alexa devices, and third-party devices make up a small fraction of that market. In total, that makes about 100,000 users who have voice shopped this year. What's looks even more dismal is that 90 percent of the users who tried voice shopping didn't try it again.

Apparently, those who voice shop tend to buy home goods such as paper towels and detergent the most.

MORE: The Best Products That Work With Amazon Alexa

This report contradicts a number of other sources, including Amazon itself. A spokesperson told The Information that “Millions of customers use Alexa to shop because it is the most convenient way to capture needs in the moment."

A 2017 survey from Narvar concluded that 29 percent of smart-device owners use voice shopping, and that 41 percent would like to use it in the future. 

While this figure presumably included Google-Assistant and Siri users as well, the fact that these assistants can't pull directly from Amazon probably means that their market share is significantly less than Alexa's.

A June survey from Voicebot.ai estimated that 26.1 percent of smart-speaker owners have made a voice purchase. Voicebot.ai also found that 21.2 percent of all U.S. adults have engaged in "voice shopping activity." This includes purchasing, price lookups, product comparisons or product searches. Voicebot.ai's polls revealed that the most common purchases to be apparel, rather than household items.

And a study from NPR and Edison Research was even more optimistic, estimating that 25 percent of smart-speaker owners have added an item to a shopping cart, 17 percent have ordered a new product not purchased previously and 17 percent have re-ordered a product previously purchased.

What could account for this discrepancy? A number of the above studies are U.S.-based, while Amazon could be looking at worldwide figures. Amazon could also be looking specifically at smart-speaker purchases, where some of the above studies include purchases on smartphones (Voicebot.ai's study attributed over half of voice purchases to smartphones).