A new era of voice-dominated search could be on the horizon after a report released last week by eMarketer found that voice assistants are now at “critical mass”, with usage among people in the US growing significantly on a year-over-year basis.
More than 111 million people, or 33.8% of the US population, will tap into the power of AI-powered voice assistants in 2019, which is a marked rise from the 79.9 million who did so just two years ago. Those figures take into account people who use voice assistants at least once a month.
While the pace of growth has tapered off during the last 12 months, there will still be a steady uptick into the new decade, with eMarketer predicting that there will be 122.7 million voice assistant users by 2021.
The rise of voice has major implications for search and SEO as consumers are likely to use more truncated terms and queries to find content, products and services online. This means that those ranking at the top of SERPs will benefit, with experts warning that the environment could be “winner takes all.”
A separate study by Adobe found that voice search is growing across smartphones and smart speakers and that brands need to be proactive as they risk getting left behind in a similar manner to when smartphones became ubiquitous.
Adobe said at the time: “With consumers starting to embrace more activities beyond simple inquiries about music and the weather, it is becoming critical for major brands to give voice as much priority as other channels like website and mobile.”