The growth of voice as a marketing platform

With 151 million smart speakers sold globally last year and 40 million sold in Q1 of 2021 research findings show.

This post is thanks to Ryan Baker who shared findings from Vixen Labs.

Establishing the first Voice Consumer Index (VCI) Vixen Labs is shining a light on how voice is becoming a key aspect in marketing. The research firm Delineate conducted the Voice Consumer Index research from 14th-19th May 2021. In total 6,000 individuals aged 18+ were surveyed (2000 each in the UK, the US and Germany) and discovered:

  • 91% of users of voice assistants search the internet with their voice – highlighting how it is now a platform for SEO and SMO marketing and comms
  • 41% of users are making purchases with their voice assistants
  • Those who don’t use the tech yet state that privacy concerns are the main reason they don’t use it (41% stated so), followed by a lack of trust for the assistants (29%)
  • Only 22% of voice assistant users feel comfortable using them in public


Since Apple’s Siri launched in 2011, voice technology has long moved on from the early adopter stage, with 34% of UK consumers using voice assistants daily.

When analysing the reasons why people use voice assistants, the research indicated that behaviours align with the marketing funnel. Users move from awareness (80% search about products) to purchase and retention (41% of users have made a purchase through voice).

Audiences across the UK, US, and Germany were asked about their top priority voice-assisted tasks across different industries. For example, in Banking and Finance, an average of 32% across the 6,000 people surveyed identified ‘check my bank balance’ as their top priority.

Results often show small differences in behaviour between the three countries: 21% of US consumers say ‘pay a bill’ is their top Banking and Finance voice-assisted task, compared to 15% in the UK and 17% in Germany. This likelihood switches in other areas: German users are more open to using the technology to find a doctor or specialist than those from the US or UK.


The research project was a collaboration between Voice tech agency, Vixen Labs who collaborated with the Linux Foundation’s Open Voice Network.  James Poulter, CEO & Co-founder of Vixen Labs commented:

“Voice assistant technology has advanced massively since we said hey to Siri 10 years ago. The Voice Consumer Index not only highlights just how many people use the technology in everyday life, but also shows that these users are eager to see its true potential.

“Parallels can be drawn from the early days of the search engine and social media to show the opportunity available to brands that utilize this technology effectively, regardless of industry. Currently there is a lot of white space for them to move into; the customer base is ready and waiting, but in order to tap into this new marketing channel, brands need to optimise, create and integrate their products and services with voice technology.”

Other key findings of the VCI include:

  • Most voice users operate the technology in multiple locations: on their phone (both in and out of the home), on smart speakers (66% use Amazon Echo), and in the car
  • Privacy is the biggest concern for the public, with 4 in 10 consumers who don’t use voice assistance stating it as the main reason they have not adopted use
  • Users need more support from brands and creators: the majority (76% in the UK) rely on trial and error to find the experiences they want
  • Aside from controlling music (73% of users) and checking the weather (80% of users), voice assistance is used mostly to ask questions (over 90% of users have searched using voice), showing that voice assistants are a new platform for search, SEO and SEM
  • Despite ongoing travel restrictions, consumers are eager to use voice search to make reservations, check hotel reviews, and research destinations (the top-priority voice-assisted task in the Travel industry is ‘searching for the best price on travel or hotel’, selected by a fifth)

The full report is available here to download.