For nearly every facet of life, 2020 has been a year unlike any other in recent memory. For the business and technology world, 2020 has been more of a story of acceleration than of true novelty, and the same holds largely true of voice. The arrival of COVID brought newfound importance to touchless interactions and confined us to our homes, both boons to voice technology adoption in different ways, as we search for tools and technologies that allow us to more easily navigate new behavioral dynamics. 

Even before the pandemic struck, we saw the forward march of voice adoption. In January, 60 million people (24% of the U.S. population) owned at least one smart speaker, with 24% using these assistants daily. Nearly 27% of the global online population uses voice search on their mobile devices, and by 2023, voice commerce is predicted to reach $80 billion

Of U.S. smart speaker owners, 35% said they’re now using them to listen to more news and information since the pandemic’s outbreak, and 36% are consuming more entertainment and music on the devices. From January to April 2020, the number of worldwide internet users who said they used voice search and voice commands on any device increased to 45%. Amazon reported skills usage was up 65% worldwide over the past May-June 2020.

In previous years, RAIN has released “state of the union” updates on a number of hot topics, from search to commerce to advertising. This year, we’re excited to share a new report on nine growth areas to watch in voice for the new year as well as our predictions for how these trends will develop. From new devices and integrations to emerging use cases including advertising, gaming and mobile, these are the hottest areas we’re interrogating for our F500 clients from a strategic planning standpoint as brands look to seize first-mover opportunities in 2021. 

Read the full report here and vote up the trends you think will be most impactful in 2021. 

Our top trends to watch in 2021:

With 2021 less than a month away, the new year brings ample opportunities for voice to tap into the power of frictionless experiences. No matter where you work or what you do, voice is entering every industry, and it’s here to stay. Innovation in voice is moving fast and the best time to get ahead is now. 

If you’re interested in developing a voice strategy or discussing one of the trends above, contact us at hello@rain.agency.