Voice is starting to redefine how consumers buy brands. Brands will increasingly have to navigate a world that doesn’t have a traditional user interface — zero UI.
As Google CEO Sundar Pichai put it, “we will move from mobile first to an AI first world.”
Walker Sands recently reported that one in five (19%) have made a voice purchase through Amazon Echo or similar device and another third (33%) plan to do so in the next year. According to ComScore, 50% of all searches will be voice searches by 2020.
Amazon is leading much of this charge. 84% of consumers made Amazon purchases in the last year (55% are Amazon Prime members). And by owning the channel, it has a massive impact on how brands are discovered within that channel.
At the same time, Amazon is ramping up its private-label, rolling out 20 distinct private-label brands in categories from clothing to baby to bedding. Some like AmazonBasics and Amazon Elements, have Amazon in the name. But most of the new private label brands, like Happy Belly and Lark & Ro, don’t. This is already impacting brands in any category that Amazon enters.
According to research from 1010data, Amazon now sells more batteries than Duracell. AmazonBasics only launched batteries in 2009 and has already become the online market leader (33% market share versus 22%). As Jed Alpert at 1010data put it,
“The bottom line for brands is they can no longer view Amazon as solely a channel and need to acknowledge them as a competitor.”
Private-label competition is nothing new. But it will be interesting to see how this plays out in voice commerce, where the retail experience is guided by AI that is owned by the makers of private-label. All of these shifts in retail will be tricky for brands to navigate. It will be a litmus test for the underlying strength of brands.
Here are a few related cartoons I’ve drawn over the years:
“Internet of Things” January 2014