Amazon Echo, Google Home and other AI voice assistants have grown rapidly in popularity. Today, 28% of internet users also use a smart speaker. Next year, that number is expected to grow 13.7% to bring the total users to 83 million. Most assume it’s the younger, tech-savvy audience driving sales. But Boomers, especially those in their sixties and older, make up a significant portion of voice assistant early adopters. Surprised? You shouldn’t be. Voice assistants have several key draws for this segment and are likely to be even more popular as they become increasingly common in our daily lives.
More than a tool, an e-lation.
For this group, an AI voice assistant is not just a convenience. It’s a sort of companion. The term “e-lation” is being talked about and that seems to capture the connection fairly well. It’s a friendly voice, a virtual someone that answers questions and takes care of simple tasks like turning off the lights, calling a friend or getting the weather forecast. It’s no wonder then that they have names like Alexa, Siri and Cortana.
Some voice assistants have a reminder system that’s perfect for aging Boomers. It’s a user-friendly way to alert people about important tasks, for instance to take their medicine or to check in with friends and loved ones on a set basis. That’s especially helpful if the user is dealing with the early stages of dementia or Alzheimer’s. And, unlike a caregiver, they never get tired of answering questions, even simple or obvious ones, no matter how many times they’re asked.
Intuitive, not intrusive
Another reason voice assistants are gaining acceptance with Boomers is the intuitive nature of the technology. Rather than navigate complicated touchscreens, or keep up with ever-changing interfaces, voice assistants are simple. Once people learn the cadence for interacting with the voice assistant, it is literally as easy as speaking.
The power to do more
This new technology is empowering as well. A recent Google survey found 51% of people over 55 thought a big reason for using voice assistants was that it enabled them to do more. They could get instant answers and information. Remember, we’re only on the cusp of what voice assistants will become and how they will be integrated in our daily lives. The potential is enormous. Vala Afshar, Salesforce’s Chief Digital Evangelist, predicts that voice will have a bigger impact on the consumer journey than search or smartphones.
Consider that for a moment. Bigger than Googling “red shoes” and using the results to compare stores, prices and products. More transformative than being able to interact with companies anywhere, anytime via mobile phone. In the short amount of time they’ve been in market, 39% of the Silent Generation and Boomers say they’ve used a voice assistant to interact with a company. And that’s not even their preferred use. More simple tasks, “Hey Google, what will the weather be today?” or “Alexa, call Jane” make up a much larger portion of the daily interactions.
Clearly, voice assistants are going to be a key channel for reaching consumers in the near future – especially Boomers. Companies need to make sure they’re well positioned. Coming of Age can audit your media plan and ensure voice assistants are a natural part. We’ll help you incorporate a voice strategy that complements your brand and drives traffic via voice search. Because if customers can’t find you, you can bet they’ll soon be asking for your competitors.