Although the technology has been available in simplistic forms for years, Apple’s Siri was perhaps the first to be both highly advanced and commercially available. Seeing the success of Apple’s product, tech giants like Google (Google Assistant), Amazon (Alexa), and Microsoft (Cortana) released virtual assistants of their own, each of which boasts an installed base in the hundreds of millions as of 2019. Consumers are making use of these technologies in their homes, cars, and in connection with a vast range of other smart devices such as smartphones and smart speakers.
Everyday consumers aren’t the only ones taking advantage of the services provided by these products; businesses around the world have been quick to incorporate virtual assistants into their strategies: conversational chatbots are being used for everything from customer service to HR, and the enterprise virtual digital assistant market has grown into a multi-billion dollar business. In the United States, over a third of online commerce customers have interacted with messaging chatbots, with the vast majority calling the experience helpful and informative.
Overall, the virtual assistant market seems destined for continued success. Funding for voice-related startups has skyrocketed in recent years, and healthy competition within the industry has ensured the rapidly expanding functionality of these devices. Even at this relatively early stage of the technology’s deployment, the majority of consumers seem to welcome the technology and the advantages it can provide.