Versions of voice-activated devices, also known as voice AI, include Amazon’s Alexa and Alibaba’s Tmall Genie. Such devices can perform a variety of tasks, including online shopping. The advantage is that they allow for smoother searches which can equate to increased purchases. Many questions, however, remain for consumer researchers. For instance, how does the use of voice AI affect the consumer purchase journey?
One issue is whether or not search options presented by voice could lead to consumers deferring searches and purchases, given the nature of how information is presented by voice AI. On the plus side, online shopping, rather than in-store browsing, could lead to a broader range of products, which might facilitate impulse buying.
The results (of this study) show that consumers on average spend 23% more as a result of adopting the voice AI, corresponding to approximately US $630 million increase in sales revenue every year.
In this study, Chenshuo Sun, Zijun (June) Shi, Xiao Liu, Anindya Ghose, Xueying Li and Feiyu Xiong analyzed consumer-level browsing and purchase records from an online retailer. The purpose of the study was to determine the impact on shopping behavior through a voice AI device. Their findings are eye-opening. Voice AI adopters search more and spend an average of 23% more than a set of matched, non-adopters. While the effect on search is greatest for younger female consumers, the effect on spending is greatest for younger male ones.
Researchers discovered that while increase in search declines soon after adoption, increase in purchase remains statistically significant after eight weeks. Additional analyses demonstrate that these effects result from reducing the cost of search, leading to greater purchases of products that do not require active search or comparison, such as product categories with low substitutability or high purchase frequency.
Read the full MSI white paper here.