Over the past decade, we have witnessed the triumph of the smartphone and the simultaneous growth in global internet coverage, as the major players in technological change, and the resulting radical change in the day-to-day behaviour in a large portion of the global population. In terms of volume, the world of quantitative research has responded to this change with a significant shift from offline research to online and/or mobile research. Research initially found the internet to be an effective tool, but true capitalisation has come with the release of the smartphone. With internet accessible to everyone, anywhere and at any time, the smartphone has allowed online market research to reach performance levels that were unimaginable just a few years ago.

Today, in the same way, the technological landscape appears to be acknowledging a new leading player: the voice assistant, in all its various forms. Actually, voice assistants have been around for years, but in the market research world, there still has not been that methodological change serving to "shift" several study types towards the new technologies. Numerous studies predict that the true turning-point will take place around 2023, when the smart speaker - a device created solely to act as a voice assistant - will reach widespread domestic distribution (The Verge, 2019). The challenge is to reveal, monitor and adapt the research pathway in order to benefit from the progress and the opportunities the voice assistant can offer. To take our first steps together, we will analyse the results of a study, conducted using social media in the US and UK, involving 1,000 smart speaker owners and users in each country. This study, forming the basis of this paper, will reveal the levels of acceptance of the sample with regard to seven potential pathways that could lead to the creation of a novel methodology, which we will refer to using the acronym VAI (voice assistant interviews).

1. Historical overview and the proliferation of smart speakers