Just How Many People Have Actually Bought Something Through an Echo, Anyway?

You’ve probably seen the commercials for them: an Amazon Echo in the home, and members of the household casually ordering products from the online store like they’re chatting casually with a familiar assistant.

Seems like science fiction still, right? I mean, just how many people have actually done this in real life?

According to a recent study, more than you may think.

19% of consumers in North America have made a voice purchase through an Amazon Echo or other voice-controlled device in the past year, and another 33% plan to do so in the next year, according to the Walker Sands 2017 Future of Retail study.

46% prefer to shop online rather than in store; as a result, retailers face pressure to offer intuitive, responsive and personalized customer experiences, or risk missing out on sales. The introduction of channels such as mobile and voice commerce have created a tipping point: 77% now think the online customer experience will eventually surpass the brick-and-mortar customer experience.

“In the age of the connected consumer, e-commerce has become about much more than online shopping or the point of sale,” said Dave Parro, partner and vice president at Walker Sands, a public relations and digital marketing firm for B2B and technology companies.

29% of consumers shop online at least weekly, a number that jumps to 37% for Millennials. 66% of consumers have made a purchase through a mobile app in the past year.

“The proliferation of technology such as connected home devices, voice ordering and drones have dramatically shifted consumer expectations of retail,” added Parro.

27% of consumers now own some kind of in-home smart device, 24% own a voice-controlled device such as an Amazon Echo or Google Home, and 18% own wearable fitness trackers. 13% own a virtual headset and 9% own a personal drone, according to the report.

“As consumers become even more connected, they will continue to demand a more transparent and continuous commerce experience from brands and retailers,” said Erin Jordan, account director and lead of the retail technology team at Walker Sands.

Free and fast shipping remain the top incentives for consumers to purchase more online, the study shows.

“The walls between channels will continue to fall as voice-controlled and connected home devices reach widespread adoption and the commerce experience becomes fluid,” noted Jordan.