Research Finds Older Generations More Likely to Use Voice Search
Sixty-four percent of voice search users over the age of 55 look for information, products, and services online, compared to to just 47 percent of voice search users ages 18-34, suggesting that voice can make technology more accessible to older populations, according to research from The Manifest, a business news and how-to website.
The numbers were just slightly lower (63 percent) for those ages 34 to 55.
"The way we engage with most technology is tactile and visual," said Matt Smith, CEO of Speak 2 Software, a company that offers voice-enabled smart speakers to assisted living centers for seniors. "These are challenges for someone losing their sight or motor skills … With voice technology, the user interface is now manageable and easy to adopt."
When it comes to voice search, 67 percent of consumers use it to find information, such as definitions or trivia,46 percent use it to search for the weather, and 32 percent search for news.
More than half (53 percent) of people who use voice search use the technology at least once a week, suggesting that once users get used to this new form of searching, they're likely to keep coming back to it.
John Foster, CEO of Aiqudo, an AI startup based in California, thinks that in 2020, even more people will start to use voice search as the technology improves. "By the end of 2020, we will have seen that tipping point where more searches are done with voice than [text-based queries]," he said. "Once it happens, people won't go back."
Younger voice technology users ages 18-34 are more likely to use voice technology for things other than searching for information. Thirty percent of those ages 18-34 use voice technology to give commands (i.e., set alarm) compared to only 19 percent of voice technology users ages 35-54 and 16 percent ages 55 and older.
Experts, however, think that more people will begin using voice technology to tell their devices to do something as technology improves.
"We'll start to see a lot more applications around what Google would call go-and-do moments," said Matthew Lang, strategy director at Rain Agency, a creative strategy agency in New York. "Things that are a little bit more sophisticated whether it's picking up something at the grocery store, placing an order on the go, or giving commands."