Once solicited, these assistants are able to perform simple tasks such as receiving a phone call, adding or removing events to a calendar, searching for information in a web browser, controlling home devices, looking up weather reports or playing music. The most popular virtual assistants currently on the market are Amazon Alexa, Siri from Apple and Microsoft’s Cortana. In 2018, less than a third of French respondents had never heard of voice assistants and didn’t know what they were. Google Home was the most popular among them. However, the majority of the French population claimed that they would not be interested in having a voice assistant at home.
The sales of smart speakers in France are still way below the numbers recorded in Germany and the United Kingdom. Although smart speakers are still rare, the number of French households owning one rose sharply between 2017 and 2019. However, this trend will only increase in the coming years and should concern more than a third of households by 2025.
It is no wonder young users are the first to utilize voice assistants. Indeed, almost three quarters of 18-24-year-olds and more than half of French people aged between 25 and 34 years old said they will have used a voice assistant by 2018. Smartphones are by far the device most used by voice assistant fans, followed by computers, thus taking advantage of the flexibility of use offered by these assistants.
Chatbots, or software applications designed to conduct online conversations via text with users, are mostly used for customer service purposes. Only a small share of French respondents have already used a chatbot to speak to a brand. Companies implement these bots to increase productivity and save time.