Emerging research shows that Google Assistant users do much more than Amazon Alexa users. GadgetGuy has both types set up as test-beds, and we set out to find out why.

Note: In part our research used the search statement ‘Google Assistant users do much more than Amazon Alexa’ AND vice versa. It focuses on the past 12 months. Where possible we use Australian results.

First, some voice sales stats

The US voice assistant market had about 17% household market penetration in 2018. Australia has about 5%, but we were late starters.

In the US Amazon Alexa Echo speakers were first to market in late 2014 – virtually creating the voice control market – and took a commanding lead with 66.6% of sales in 2018.

Google Assistant came to market in mid-2017, but the tide is quickly turning towards it.

eMarket analysts state that Amazon’s US share will continue to shrink while those of its rivals will grow and overtake it by 2020. Particularly as Google Assistant support increases with brands like Sonos, LG, Panasonic, Sony, Lenovo and of course Google’s hardware.

Analyst Jaimie Chung said

“Amazon has remained relevant by plugging Alexa into premium speakers like the Sonos. But Sonos plans to bring Google Assistant to its devices real will change the balance in the voice assistant race.”

Amazon Alexa speakers have greater US market share because Amazon is an accepted shopping source. Not so in Australia. Why?

While there is also a good recognition of the name Amazon in the US (23rd in the Forbes RepTrack Index), Google rates well ahead at number three. Millennials rank Google number one on that index. As the Amazon empire becomes more visible and the issues play out with the CEO’S messy divorce and some strategic airing of ‘dirty washing’ it is fast slipping in the RepTrack.

Voicebot AI states that in July 2018 in Australia Google Assistant was outselling Alexa at least three-to-one. Similarly, in Canada Google Assistant is outselling Alexa two-to-one. Our spies at JB Hi-Fi confirm that and say that over the 2018 Christmas period hardly any Alexa sold at retail – they can’t comment on Amazon direct sales.

The reverse in Australia is because Amazon is not a household name here.

According to Neto Australia, an e-commerce platform that services Australian sellers on both Amazon and eBay.

  • About 10% of Australians regularly use Amazon, but 63% regularly use eBay.
  • eBay is Australia’s 4th most visited website well above Pornhub, Xvideos, Wikipedia and News.com.au. The most visited sites are Google (search), Facebook and YouTube.
  • eBay Australia receives about 63 million visits a month (12M unique shoppers) compared to Amazon at 10 million visits (unique visitors are unknown).
  • eBay gets more monthly traffic than the next seven e-commerce sites combined (JB Hi-Fi, Kogan, Harvey Norman, Myer, David Jones, Etsy and Amazon).
  • eBay is the number one downloaded e-commerce app on iTunes and Google Play.
  • 80 of Australia’s top 100 bricks and mortar retailers have an eBay shop, and there are more than 40,000 other Aussie owned stores on the platform.
  • eBay has the added credibility of PayPal and delivery/service/money back guarantees.

We make the point that the US knows Amazon – not so much here and that may partially account for lack of take up of Amazon Alexa speakers.

What do people do with a voice assistant? (eMarket US figures)

  • 80% listen to audio
  • 73% make inquiries like weather, news etc
  • 35% control smart home devices (lights, thermostat or motion/video detection)
  • 3% do online shopping (or at least research for a purchase)

Kantar Worldpanel US findings

Kantar Worldpanel is a global group of users and measures both intent and uses on a broad range of subjects. The US voice assistant panel comprises 20,000 users.

Use (in percent) Google Assistant Amazon Alexa
Order take-out food 15.6 6.2
Ask for recipies 20 11.7
Create shopping list 17.3 15
Order groceries 12.6 4.6
Check the weather 58.4 53.7
Check your diary 19.7 14.3
Asdk general knowledge questions 52.8 40.8
Newsfeed 50.8 37.9
Check travel info 29.6 20
Make voice calls 29.3 19.6
Streaming music 68.4 64.3
Listen to more music than before 31.4 27.3
Switch from free to paid music 16.2 12.2
Now regard voice assistance as a must have prerequisite for any new tech 14 11.5
Use a smartphone less 15.8 10.2
Use a PC less 15.8 8.2
Shop (for clothes etc) 4.5 2.3

Kantar says Google users receive the most benefit and embrace more changes. Why?

It appears to come down to more people trusting Google Assistant because

  1. It comes with Android phones (currently 87% global market share or over 2 billion active devices).
  2. Google claims more than 1 billion active Assistant users in 28 languages and 80 countries. Amazon has around 100 million devices. Siri has 500 million.
  3. Just ‘Google it’ (search) has become ‘muscle memory’.
  4. It is not tied to any shopping ecosystem of goods or services (one could argue that paid AdWords may influence results)

Google Search use is on a vastly larger scale (than Bing), so it has leant more.

Google Assistant answers, especially to imprecise or conversational questions are very good.

A recent test by Loup Ventures (second year in a row) asking both Google Assistant and Alexa 800 questions resulted in a 100% answer rate and 87.9% correct on Google. Alexa answered 99% with 72.5% accuracy. In the first year, it has an answer rate of 88/73% respectively.

Google Assistant users do much more than Amazon Alexa

Loup Ventures shows the inherent bias/pedigree with this question, “How much would a manicure cost?”