SAN FRANCISCO – Smart speakers and their voice activated virtual assistants will play a key role in the future of information, shopping, communication, and much more. Google itself believes that 30% of all web browsing in 2020 will be done by voice. As such, the Smart Speaker market is an important battleground in the world of search engines. As our interaction with the internet depends more on voice search in the coming decades, our interaction with online advertisements will dwindle inversely.
Although voice related ads aren’t common place yet, they will be worked in. Where the smart speaker chooses to do its web browsing will also be of vital importance to the search advertising world as well.
With that as the backdrop, I’m excited to announce the results of our first Smart Speaker Digital Sales Scan. The Digital Sales Scan benchmarks the performance of websites advising on and selling smart speakers from the perspective of the consumer. We want to understand how often consumers go to certain websites, make it through the purchase process, and why they choose one website and smart speaker over another.
Who took the top spot in this research?
It may come as no surprise to many that Amazon.com came out on top of these smart speaker rankings. The company literally invented the product and brought it into the mainstream and millions of homes around the world. Furthermore, it’s among the largest eCommerce sites in the world, specializing in the art of the online consumer sale. This combination created an unprecedented Digital Sales Score of 91, the highest performance of any website benchmarked in the United States by WUA.
Amazon’s position on top looks even sweeter considering it led the market by a margin of 16 points above the next best website, electronics retailer BestBuy.com. Google’s smart speaker store came in 3rd place with a Digital Sales Score of 61, a full 30 points behind Amazon–a worrying prospect for the current frontrunner in web search volume.
Digital Sales Score
Name study: Smart SpeakersMeasurement: June 2018Country: United States
- 1 Amazon.com 91
- 2 BestBuy.com 75
- 3 Google.com 61
- 4 Walmart.com 59
- 5 Target.com 54
- 6 eBay.com 52
- 7 Apple.com 51
- 8 Sonos.com 48
- At the base of each Digital Sales Scan® lies the Digital Sales Model. With this model, the details of the orientation process are mapped. Eventually the performance of a website is reflected in a single, overall score: the Digital Sales Score.
- Highest total score
The Study and Respondent Task
The 300 respondents in this study were given the following task: “Imagine that you want to buy a Smart Speaker online. Find a smart speaker online that matches your needs, desires, and requirements. Please assess all the steps to buy a smart speaker, however don’t actually buy the product.” Each respondent featured in this study searched for a smart speaker using their personal computer. For the full research set and methodology, click here.
Digital Excellence: Who gets the highest preference?
When respondents think of smart speakers, they think of Alexa, Amazon’s premier smart speaker. That’s what the data tells us as 94% of respondents found Amazon.com on their search for a smart speaker. What’s more, 171 of 281 respondents who evaluated the website wound up on it by punching the web address directly in their browser. That’s an absurd amount of organic traffic in any market. And not only are respondents finding Amazon.com, but they’re also primarily choosing the eCommerce giant as their preferred site for buying a smart speaker. Amazon finished with a conversion rate of 66%, exactly three times as much as Apple.com.
Amazon reels in so many customers because it has the ideal trifecta of attractive qualities online. The first is that it sells the most well-known, successful smart speaker on the market; Alexa. The second is that Amazon.com is already has a massive consumer base to tap into. The third is that Amazon.com has a website design that respondents value for its ease of use and plethora of options. Of course, existing familiarity with the website did help make using the website easier for some respondents, with one saying “I use it all the time so I know what to look for.” Still, it shouldn’t be overlooked that Amazon.com scores far better than similar websites in the categories such as “Order process” and “Product offer is clear”. While evaluating the design of Amazon.com, one respondent wrote “It was an easy process to research the product and compare options. The checkout process was hassle-free.” Although Amazon.com was the clear winner of this benchmark study, there’s still room for improvement. One area where Amazon didn’t receive top marks is in their customer service. One of the few things respondents lamented the company for is that it’s too “hard to contact”.
Download the Smart Speaker Sample Report for more data, insights, and visuals.
What the data says about the competition
The data we extracted from this Digital Sales Scan provides a snapshot of digital excellence within the US market for smart speakers. Let’s have a look at how Amazon’s competitors faired in our first benchmark study of this market:
• BestBuy.com finished second in the rankings and was the most preferred electronics & retail store that offered smart speakers. Along with Walmart.com, BestBuy had the highest percentage of organic traffic coming from Google. While 15% of customers selected BestBuy.com as their preferred website, another 25% chose the site as their second choice, which means there’s plenty of upside potential for the retail store.
• The top 3 websites in the rankings took a monumental 83% share of the market. The web’s most popular search engine, Google, wound up in third place, taking 5% of the market. While this may not be surprising, Google had the highest number of respondents entering its smart speaker websites through advertisements placed on the search engine. With such a high reliance on paid visits, it has among the highest cost per acquisition.
• Apple.com has the 2nd highest conversion rate amongst all featured websites, converting 22% of respondents, some 10% more than Google.com was able to convert. The Cupertino-based company, which only released its HomePod speaker this year, was found by 17% of respondents. Only Sonos had a lower findability rate out of the websites featured in our rankings as only 14% of respondents found their site.
• Retail stores Walmart.com and Target.com struggled to convert customers despite high rates of findability. In Walmart’s case, 43% of respondents ended up on the site, but only 8% of those respondents listed the company as their top choice. In comparison with Bestbuy.com, Walmart had five times less the number #1 picks. Target.com finished even further behind as only 5% of the customers that reached their website listed them as their most preferred.
• The ‘long-tail’ of non-listed websites make up a small 5% of customers in search of a smart speaker online.
Aim of this study
With this study, we wanted to identify and measure the digital experience that consumers have when searching for a smart speaker through their desktop computer. By allowing respondents to use their own device and to start their search for a smart speaker from scratch, we can get as close as possible to the actual user experience of consumers. We want to find out who consumers choose to buy from, and mainly: Why? Using a proven model WUA has worked on over the past 10 years, we map out exactly the consumers want, what the best practices are, and what the areas for improvement are. The websites of these companies were assessed by consumers in the study:
To beat the competition, you have to offer an excellent digital experience
This study shows once again that Digital Excellence is an absolute necessity. To beat the competition, you have to offer an excellent digital experience in the entire customer journey, and take the number 1 position when it comes to preference. Being found and scoring high in Google isn’t enough. You have to design a website that guides the customer to the product they want and provides a feeling of support.
Would you like more insights into the US market for smart speakers? We have a crystal-clear image of your position and results.