The Effect of Voice AI on Consumer Purchase and Search Behavior
40 Pages Posted: 5 Nov 2019 Last revised: 29 Mar 2021
Date Written: October 25, 2019
Voice-activated shopping devices (voice AI), such as Amazon’s Alexa or Alibaba’s Tmall Genie, as a new channel for shopping, are gaining popularity worldwide. It has become important to understand how voice AI adoption affects consumer shopping behaviors. We use large-scale archival data containing consumer-level browsing and purchase records from one of the world’s largest online retailers, Alibaba, to empirically investigate this problem. We show that consumers on average spend 19.5% more money and browse 13.6% more pages as a result of adopting voice AI, corresponding to approximately US$ 493 million increase in annual sales revenue. The effect on purchase is stronger for younger consumers and male, and the effect on browsing is more salient for female. Although the positive effects could shrink over time, they still remain significant after eight weeks. Moreover, the voice channel does not cannibalize other purchase channels (PC and mobile); rather, it has a positive spillover effect on PC. Lastly, the impact of voice AI adoption on purchase is stronger for products that do not require active search or comparison, such as product categories with low substitutability or high purchase frequency. Our results demonstrate that the adoption of voice AI has enhanced the growth of e-commerce. The findings provide useful implications for both e-commerce companies and businesses that harness voice-assisted shopping.
Keywords: Voice assistant, voice shopping, e-commerce, causal impact, heterogeneity, channels
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