Thirty-nine million Americans now own a smart speaker—a 128% increase year-over-year. Adoption of voice assistants is creating a market for voice-based shopping. Capgemini predicts that within three years, consumers will use voice technology for 18% of their total spending—up from 3% now. This growth will impact all retail sectors, in particular food and grocery: 31% of voice shoppers have bought groceries in 2018 and another 27% plan to in the near future.
Grocers in the UK and Germany are falling behind in the voice revolution. In the UK, Ocado is the only retailer to have developed an Alexa skill designed for shopping—a technology Morrisons has since licensed. In Germany, digital upstart Allyouneed Fresh is the only grocer with a shopping-enabled Alexa skill.
Amazon’s Alexa controls 62% of the market for voice-enabled devices, double that of Google Home—a market share steadily growing, to the detriment of Amazon. In the UK, Tesco, Asda, and most recently Argos have focused their voice shopping efforts on Google Home devices, betting on the platform’s growth. Choosing Google Home could also be a strategic move so as not to partner with a direct competitor, as Amazon entered the grocery space with the acquisition of Whole Foods. All this makes clear that retailers need to develop strategies for voice shopping on at least one of the major platforms, or face the penalty of being left behind.