Voice shopping to deliver £3.5bn in sales by 2022

Shopping through voice-activated devices is poised to disrupt the UK retail industry much like mobile commerce has over the last few years, according to a new report.


Amazon Echo

As the proportion of UK households owning a smart speaker like Amazon Echo and Google Home, continues to rise (it currently stands at 10%), voice-activated devices are expected to deliver £3.5bn in sales by 2020, predicted OC&C Strategy Consultants, a management consulting company.

Amazon Echo is currently leading the way in the voice commerce space, with 8% of UK household owning the Amazon speaker, compared to just 2% who have a Google Home.

KNOWN PRODUCTS TAKE THE LEAD

According to the report, groceries and other low value goods are currently forming the bulk of purchases, as browsing opportunities are still limited. Around 70% of voice purchases are made on a specific ‘known’ product, typically as a repeat order.

But less known brands can also get in front of consumers by aiming to achieve Amazon’s ‘choice’ status. The e-tailer offers a series of recommendations, pushing its ‘Amazon choice’ first, in an attempt to help customers select products. 85% of users are likely to accept Amazon’s recommended product.

Products with ‘choice’ status are often selected for being popular and well-priced, and having a solid supply chain performance. Brands should focus their voice commerce offering on low price point products, as they are more likely to be shopped through this channel, and ensuring products are easily found can also be critical, said OC&C Strategy Consultants.


Photo: Archive

INVESTING IN ‘SKILLS’

To get ahead, retailers can also develop ‘skills’, which are controlled by voice to perform different tasks. The research found that just 39 ‘skills’ exist currently within the shopping category, revealing limited investment by retailers.

“It’s clear that shopping with voice is going to account for a substantial and growing share of the retail market, presenting both a challenge and an opportunity for businesses that can get ahead of the curve,” commented Will Hayllar, partner and global head of consumer Goods at OC&C.

“There are different paths to success in the voice category. A key consideration for retailers is understanding what business objectives they want to serve, then tailoring their voice proposition accordingly. For consumer goods companies, the focus should be on prioritising the products most likely to be shopped through this channel. For both retailers and consumer goods businesses, assessing how their brand plays to the strengths of different ‘skills’, is also crucial to maximise their success.”

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