Stuck at home, banned from the pandemic and forced to focus their lives on online channels, over the past year and a half consumers have developed higher expectations than ever for an easy and convenient shopping experience – wherever and whenever. From this realigned attitude that Bring-it-to-me economy was born. And while the pandemic is now over, the bring-it-to-me economy is only just beginning as consumers have rewritten their buying habits, increased their shopping convenience expectations, and diversified the channels through which they want to do business.
A new PYMNTS report, The bring-it-to-me economy: How online marketplaces and aggregators are driving omnichannel retail, notes that in a world of reopening where consumers can now shop and dine in any number of reopened stores and dine in different restaurants, consumers are still clinging to the apps, aggregators and digital marketplaces they used during the pandemic to have.
And one such channel, Voice Commerce, is particularly worth seeing. While it’s still a relatively small part of trading activity today, it’s becoming increasingly popular with all the right consumer groups, so it’s waiting for a surge in growth as the economy becomes increasingly connected.
The growing call for voice commerce
According to the PYMNTS report, voice commerce enthusiasts are still a small subgroup of commerce in general, with only 6 percent of all consumers shopping through voice assistants over the past year.
But even small segments can harbor a lot of trading power, the report also says, as those who shop by voice get online faster than other consumer groups. Around 89 percent of consumers who use their voice assistants to shop and checkout also say they buy at least one type of product online now more than last year, compared with 52 percent of non-users. Unsurprisingly, voice shoppers who get online faster are younger consumers. 72.2 percent of Generation Z consumers and 67 percent of Millennials also say they are now buying at least one type of product online more than last year, compared with just 38.2 percent of baby boomers and seniors.
Additionally, the report found that voice shoppers like Millennials and Bridge Millennials are pioneering the market – consumers whose digital shopping habits and preferences are strong indicators of where the market is headed next.
The connection to the contactless
Digitally connected consumers – especially voice customers, millennials and bridge millennials – have a preference for connected retail experiences, which can also be seen in how they like to pay when shopping in stores. These three groups of buyers, the report says, share a belief that touchless payment options are critical to the rise of in-store shopping. 74 percent of voice assistant shoppers say it is “very” or “extremely” important that brick and mortar retailers provide touchless options for customers shopping in stores, and about 49 percent of Millennials and Bridge Millennials report this.
Compared to other generation groups, the difference becomes clearer. Only 28 percent of the contactless payment options of non-voice users in stores are either “very” or “extremely” important, an opinion of 19 percent of baby boomers and seniors and 33 percent of Generation X consumers. Interestingly, Generation Z differs in this area from other younger consumer groups. Only around 28 percent say that contactless options are “very” or “extremely” important – ahead of seniors and boomers, but still behind Gen X and millennials.
The report shows that voice consumers are still a tiny fraction of the overall retail image – but a tiny fraction of the consumer segments with the highest digital reach who are now in search of improved technology whenever and however they shop. And since this consumer group tends to lead the way in terms of adoption among other segments, the voice seems like a channel to watch as the bring-it-to-me mentality becomes increasingly ingrained in the heart of the US economy becomes.