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Rise in Smart Speaker Use for Online Shopping Orders Identified

19 November 2019 - 15:12 by Mike Price

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Although they still represent a small slice of the market for safe shopping online, it seems that smart speakers like the Amazon Echo may finally be gaining more traction as an option for browsing e-commerce sites as well as making purchases.

This is based on figures gleaned in the wake of the Singles Day sales event, according to Internet Retailing. The high-profile 24-hour discount blitz began life in China and has since spread to other parts of the world, making it a good gauge of current consumer trends and habits.

Analysts found that over one million online orders were received from smart speakers in the course of Singles Day, although it is worth noting that this focuses chiefly on grocery-based orders placed in China itself, where a device called the Tmall Genie has grown in popularity.

While these figures may come from a relatively narrow segment of the market, they are nevertheless intriguing from the perspective of retailers and consumers alike.

Smart speakers have paved the way in terms of things like home automation, but their deployment for browsing the web and buying online has been relatively limited, in part because they do not provide the same level of detail when compared with using devices that have integrated displays.

Not being able to see the product that is being ordered is clearly an issue in terms of fashion items and electronics, but of course it is less relevant when it comes to grocery orders. This is where smart speakers could really shine, making it simple for customers to arrange for food deliveries without needing to go through the rigmarole of browsing a full e-commerce site.

Whether this will catch on outside of China is uncertain, but it does show that smart speakers do have potential in an online shopping context.