NEWS12 July 2017

Personal assistant apps stalling

Mobile News UK

UK – Take up of mobile phone personal assistant apps is stagnating as people switch to standalone home devices such as Amazon Echo and Google Home.

Verto Analytics’ report, Rise of Machines: How AI-driven personal assistant apps are shaping digital consumer habits, found that 44% of US adult smartphone owners ( 71 million) used a PA app in May 2017, the same as the year before, and down from the 88m in November 2016.

In addition to stagnating popularity, the time spent using them has more than halved from 28 minutes a month to just over 12 minutes.

Siri remains the most popular PA smartphone app, but its monthly users fell 15% over the year to 7.3 million, while its ‘stickiness’ level (average daily users as a percentage of total monthly users) dropped by nearly half – from 21% to 11%.

In contrast, Amazon’s Alexa saw a 325% year-on-year increase in monthly unique users (from 0.8m to 2.8m) and more than doubled its stickiness rating, from 10% to 22%. Microsoft’s Cortana also saw a significant jump in use – up 350% to 0.7m.

The report found that PA smartphone app users are skewed toward older women – the ‘super-user’ – someone who spends more than twice as much time as the average person – is a 52-year old female. They spend 1.5 hours per month on PA apps compared with the 12 minute average.

Hannu Verkasalo, CEO of Verto Analytics, said: “Despite all the hype, the take-up of personal assistant apps is spotty and sluggish and has yet to gain a sturdy mass-market foothold.

“It’s likely that some of this behaviour is shifting to standalone devices such as Google Home and Amazon Echo as people prefer using those when at home. Whatever the reason, it’s a reminder that usage of AI-driven apps and services is in its infancy.”

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