The $40 Billion Dollar Market No One is Talking About

Posted on March 9, 2018

When we think of emerging markets our minds typically go to AI, VR, and Blockchain technologies, right? I mean, who hasn’t gotten onto Facebook to have a hearty conversation around crypto and what blockchain means for the future of currency? These technologies are exciting, but I would like to draw some attention to a market that is already here and is being treated like the ugly stepchild: the voice market.

It could be that we as marketers and business owners just don’t understand how to craft a voice strategy, or it may be that most companies think Amazon already has it in the bag. Either way this $40 Billion dollar market by 2022 deserves the collective attention of us all. Let’s break down the state of the union, and what can be done to develop your own voice strategy.

The state of the union starts with the recognition that we as humans hate change, and voice is a massive change when it comes to the communications and marketing industries. Instead of welcoming it with open arms, most have pushed it away because “my market will never use voice” or “only 13% of homes have voice-enabled devices”. These words are dangerous, let us not forget the tough lesson learned from famous opinions that were very wrong.

So, let’s look at some statistics on the voice industry from a survey results OC&C Strategy Consultants;

The OC&C estimates that 13% of US households have a smart speaker in their home. With an estimated 6 Million Americans ordering products through voice for a total of $2 Billion in sales in 2017.

This is predicted to trend rapidly over the next few years and it is estimated that by 2022 over 50% of American homes will have a voice element.

Amazon is currently dominating this market, but there are other competitors working to break into this space.

(courtesy of OC&C)


A lot of marketers I’ve spoken with have disrespected voice because it is foreign, it does not follow the rules of typical marketing. But I firmly believe the next titans of the advertising space will have to have a strong voice strategy for their clients to win. This even more so for those selling commodities, groceries, really anything that does not require careful thought prior to a purchase.

To develop a strategy, we first need to understand what consumers are currently using voice for;

(courtesy of OC&C)


The Rub:

So what does this mean for us, those who are trying to sell stuff using voice. To answer this let’s break it down into 2 types of categories;

  1. CPG’s & Commodities

    1. This is a gloomy prediction, but you are in Amazon’s world now. Unless a competitor (cough, cough WALMART GET YOUR STUFF TOGETHER) comes out with a piece of hardware and software to compete. This means you’re going to have to play by their rules and work towards being a recommended product until Amazon enters your space and slowly kills you.
  2. eCommerce Brands

    1. This is such a fun space to talk about. While most people are thinking of how to enable voice checkout #uninspired, my mind wanders to how you can use voice to market to an early segment of your audience 2-5 years before they become a buyer. An example of this is the rise in popularity of punk rock when I was a child. Every cool video game had Good Charlotte or Hoobastank playing in the background and loading screens. Without realizing it, I was being conditioned to love this music. The same can be done today. Think about it this way. If Gucci created the most amazing music playlist for parties and updated it constantly to be played on Spotify or their own skill. What would it look like to create a skill that gently introduces your brand to your consumer, not to sell them, but to romance them? If you’re producing pots and pans, could you create a skill that reads out recipes and entertains a mom as they cook, what would that mean to them when they go looking to purchase a new set?

I implore you to take voice seriously because right now you have the ability to purchase beachfront property for pennies on the dollar.