Consumers will interact with voice assistants on over 8.4 billion devices by 2024; overtaking the world’s population and growing 113 per cent compared to the 4.2 billion devices expected to be in use by year end 2020.

The figures are contained in a new report from Juniper Research.

Despite this growth, monetisation of the voice assistants themselves remains a challenge.

The new research, Voice Assistant Market: Player Strategies, Monetisation & Market Size 2020-2024, found that automotive voice assistants and those connected to TVs will have the highest rate of growth, largely thanks to the ability to use voice assistants through peripherals, rather than new hardware.

But this depends on changing consumer behaviour; less than half of TVs capable of voice assistant functions will actually use the function, even in years’ time.

“Ingrained habits of how devices are used will restrict opportunities for voice assistants and voice commerce,” said research co-author James Moar.

“Vendors should focus on driving usage almost as much as promoting device sales.”

Despite the proliferation of different voice assistant devices, Juniper Research expects that smartphones will continue their dominance of the space. Other devices will be comparatively underused in many markets.

According to the research, despite having more than double the population of North America, the number of voice assistant devices in Europe will only exceed North America by 2022, and then only marginally, thanks to fewer devices being launched into those markets.

The research notes that while several voice assistant vendors are pivoting towards productivity and office usage, this will be a relatively small market. Less than 354 million PCs will have active voice assistants, particularly following Microsoft shifting Cortana away from being a full voice assistant.

Juniper Research recommends that voice assistant companies targeting the PC market emphasise voice as part of wider ecosystem of device and data management, with more automation than consumer voice assistants.

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