Dan Ness, Principal Analyst, MetaFacts, March 9, 2018
As the saying goes, many talk about the weather, yet few do anything about it. Our research doesn’t show if people expect Alexa to have any skills to do anything about the weather. However, it is the main subject users speak with Alexa about. That’s followed by requests about music.
Meanwhile, web searches are the major subject users speak with their voice assistants about. This subject is dominated by Google Assistant and closely seconded by Microsoft Cortana.
Alexa is ranked #1 in the breadth of subjects actively used and is primarily used for weather, music, and entertainment. Unsurprisingly, perhaps, Alexa is more-favored for shopping than other systems. What may be surprising is that shopping isn’t Alexa’s top helpful task. Since most connected shopping today is visual, most involve the use of a larger screen device such as a PC or Tablet.
Google Assistant is ranked 2nd for the breadth of subjects, mostly utilized for web searches, navigation, and music.
The 3rd-ranked Apple Siri is used primarily for web searches, weather, and navigation, and is uniquely strong in messaging.
4th-ranked Microsoft Cortana is similarly used for web searches, weather, and music. Like Alexa, it’s slightly stronger than average for scheduling.
This is based on the MetaFacts Voice User Profile survey conducted in February 2018. This subset of the results reports on active usage, which is a practical measure to contrast with the potential of what voice assistants may or may be able to do.
The market for voice assistants is in a time of flux and rapid development, as each voice assistant system touts the breadth of its skills, richness of its vocabulary, accuracy, humor, or other capabilities. Meanwhile, users are experimenting, with some former users having been discouraged by unmet expectations and others only at the start of their adoption.
Related research results
The MetaFacts Voice User Profile includes other related analysis, including:
- The subjects Voice Assistant users ask about: weather, scheduling, music, entertainment, home automation, and more
- Which Voice Assistant systems are being actively used, on which platforms, and which segments they are attracting
- Which listening devices are being actively used – from Smart Speakers to Smartphones and Headsets
- Where Voice Assistant users will – and won’t – do their talking: in restaurants, driving, while walking, and many other locations and settings
- How well – or poorly – users experience their Voice Assistants, and how performance metrics vary by system and listening device
- How many adults are active Voice Assistant users, how many are former users, and how many have never tried one
- Reasons given why consumers have never used a Voice Assistant, as well as why former users aren’t currently active users
The information in this MetaFAQs is based on a survey of 525 online adults during February 2018 as part of the MetaFacts Voice User Profile (VUP). The study universe includes active voice assistant users, former voice assistant users, as well as consumers who have never used a voice assistant.
MetaFAQs are answers to frequently asked questions about technology users. The research results showcase the TUP/Technology User Profile study, MetaFacts’ survey of a representative sample of online adults profiling the full market’s use of technology products and services. The current wave of TUP is TUP/Technology User Profile 2020, which is TUP’s 38th annual.
Current subscribers may use the comprehensive TUP datasets to obtain even more results or tailor these results to fit their chosen segments, services, or products. As subscribers choose, they may use the TUP inquiry service, online interactive tools, or analysis previously published by MetaFacts.
On request, interested research professionals can receive complimentary updates through our periodic newsletter. These include MetaFAQs – brief answers to frequently asked questions about technology users – or TUPdates – analysis of current and essential technology industry topics. To subscribe, contact MetaFacts.