ASIA PACIFIC: The adoption of voice-activated technology is taking off in several Asian markets and stabilising in others, according to a new study that identifies two distinct categories with attendant implications for brands and marketers.

For its report, The Future is Voice Activated, digital marketing agency iProspect gathered responses from more than 1,800 smartphone owners split evenly across Australia, China, India, Indonesia, Japan and Singapore.

This found that 62% had used voice-activated technology in the last six months while 54% had done so in the last one month.

India (82%) and China (77%) emerged as the leaders in voice adoption amongst field markets with Indonesia (62%) close behind.

The study classified these as “dynamic” markets, with positive sentiment and high growth potential since current users of voice in these had also significantly increased usage over the past six months – 78% of those in India had increased usage, 68% of those in China and 53% of those in Indonesia.

The remaining three countries fell into the “conservative” bracket, having mixed sentiment towards the technology and only a steady growth potential. These territories had fewer current users (Australia 57%, Singapore 55% and Japan 40%) and these were increasing their usage at a slower rate (Australia 39%, Singapore 37% and Japan 36%).

The report suggested that attitudes in conservative markets may be coloured by the fact they first trialled the tech a couple of years ago when recognition rates were lower, leading to a degree of scepticism about voice tech’s efficacy.

They’re also concerned about using voice in public and drawing attention to themselves – a situation that only becomes worse if the device doesn’t understand their query and they have to repeat it.

In dynamic markets, however, users are curious about the new technology and the perceived convenience of voice function, perceiving it to be cool.

And as they use it daily to complete tasks like playing music, finding directions, setting timers, scribing messages or making calls, a successful initial trial has encouraged them to test voice applications across different functions and devices.

“Across all markets what is clear is that voice interactions can add value by providing immediate convenience,” iProspect said. Brands need to consider the context of moments they can tap into and what they can bring to those – and that is likely to involve leveraging daily habits rather than attempting to solve complex problems or provide in-depth services.

Sourced from iProspect; additional content by WARC staff