The number of voice-controlled digital assistants could grow to a whopping 8 billion worldwide in just five years, according to new research. The current total of devices, which includes smart speakers such as those from Amazon and Google, is estimated at 2.5 billion.
Whilst it is smart speakers such as the Amazon Echo and the Google Home Mini that are driving the rise of digital voice assistants - that market will grow by more than 40% annually over the next five years - it is a wider array of connected devices that is expected to drive the total to those dizzying heights of 8 billion total.
The prediction comes via the latest estimates from Juniper Research, a British company. According to the market research experts, smart TVs will have the biggest expansion, growing at a rate of more than 120% every year for the next five years.
Smartphone assistants remain the largest platform in terms of volume, with services such as Google Assistant and Siri baked into Android 9 Pie and iOS 12, whilst wearables are also set to grow by 40% per year for the next five years.
The report also states that, as demand for multi-platform assistants increases, standalone apps, made by independent vendors for smartphones and tablets, will decline. The exception here is China, where apps such as WeChat and Alibaba bring digital assistants to products without being an integral part of the operating system. As a result, Juniper Research predicts that 78% of all digital assistant apps installed globally over the next five years will be downloaded in China.
Finally, Juniper Research predicts that voice commerce, which includes money transfer and purchases of digital goods alongside its use for more traditional purchases, to reach more than $80 billion per annum by 2023. Research author, James Moar, said: "We expect the majority of voice commerce to be digital purchases, until digital assistants offer truly seamless cross-platform experiences. Connected TVs and smart displays are vital here, as they can provide a visual context that is lacking in smart speaker."
What do you think about the predicted growth of digital assistants? How prevalent are they in your market today?