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BizReport : Trends & Ideas archives : July 11, 2017

Research: Use and stickiness of standalone AI-driven PAs skyrockets

While use of personal assistant apps on smartphones is showing signs of stagnation, use of standalone home devices such as Alexa has skyrocketed, according to a new report from consumer-centric measurement firm Verto Analytics.

by Helen Leggatt

Verto's report, 'Rise of the Machines: How AI-Driven Personal Assistant Apps Are Shaping Digital Consumer Habits' reveals the use of personal assistants on smartphones is already showing signs of stagnation. Over the course of a year Verto found no increase in the number of U.S. adults using personal assistants on a smartphone.

In fact, the number of U.S. adult smartphone users using a personal assistant app was the same in May 2017 as in May 2016 (71 million users or 44% of U.S. adult smartphone owners). However, usage was seen to decline steadily since hitting a peak of around 88 million users in November, 2016.

"Despite all the hype, the take-up of personal assistant apps is spotty and sluggish and has yet to gain a sturdy mass-market foothold," said Hannu Verkasalo, CEO of Verto Analytics. "It's likely that some of this behaviour is shifting to standalone devices such as Google Home and Amazon Echo as people prefer using those when at home."

Indeed, Verto's report bears out this assumption. It shows a massive 325% YoY increase in monthly unique users of Amazon's Alexa - from 0.8 million to 2.8 million - and a doubling of its stickiness rating from 10% to 22%. The study also revealed the use of personal assistant apps has distinct peaks, at 10am and 1pm, as well as a steady climb from 2pm-7pm before dropping off in the evening. This, says Verto, reinforces the idea that people switch to standalone devices once home.

"Whatever the reason, it's a reminder that usage of AI-driven apps and services is in its infancy as consumers are still exploring how to use them as replacements for search and other familiar online activities,": said Verkasalo. "As the technologies and user experience design will develop significantly, it's not going to be clear for a while the best way for companies to exploit this area."

Tags: AI trends, Amazon, Google, personal assistant, research

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