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UK consumers remain unsure about shopping via a smart speaker: report

Tyrone Stewart
Argos Google Home Assistant
Argos was the first UK retailer to offer shopping via Google Assistant


The number of people who own smart speakers is constantly growing, but the majority of users are reluctant to use their devices for shopping, according to a study from Awin.

The survey of 2,000 UK adult smart speaker owners found that around 18 per cent of people use their device daily versus 14 per cent who use their smart speaker very rarely, if ever. The second of those findings may be influenced by the 51 per cent of respondents having been gifted their smart speakers, as well as the 18 per cent who made an impulse purchase that they now regret.

21 per cent of smart phone owners have used their device to shop online at some point. However, just 13 per cent of these people use their device to shop more than once a month.

Some members of the group that had shopped online via their smart speaker (nine per cent) said they had ordered the wrong item before, while 12 per cent gave up during the process and continued their journey elsewhere.

On the other hand, amongst those that hadn’t made a purchase using a smart speaker, 23 per cent said they didn’t know how to make a purchase on their device. Other obstacles facing this group included not wanting to order the wrong thing (21 per cent) and the process being too complicated (16 per cent).

Though people are unsure about shopping on their smart speakers, many are happy to use their device to assist them in the process. 46 per cent of people have use their smart speaker to research a product before going to buy it in a more traditional manner, while 40 per cent have made shopping lists and 23 per cent have utilised a smart speaker for a price comparison.

“The process of online shopping is complex and continually evolving. The internet of things (IoT) sees a variety of devices connected to one another and the internet and smart speakers are just one of many ways that this technology can be used,” said Ian Charlesworth, UK country manger at Awin. “I remain sceptical just how far consumers will allow this kind of technology to automate their online purchases – it makes sense for replenishment of consumables but beyond that I think that people still want engage with suppliers and their products before making a decision to purchase.”