Alexa users are buying low-risk shopping items and performing simple, straightforward tasks on their devices, but veering away from more complex requests, a new study has found.

Market researcher Field Agent surveyed Amazon Echo, Dot and Tap users in the US to understand how consumers are using Alexa. The survey of about 300 people investigates general attitudes and behaviors as well as shopping habits. It provides a snapshot of how consumers use voice-enabled interfaces ahead of the Innovation Group and Mindshare’s upcoming voice technology report, Speak Easy.

The survey’s demographics show a fairly even gender split with 52% of men and 48% of women using the device. Of those that own an Alexa device, the majority fit into the 35-44 age group with 37% of owning a device compared to a quarter of 25-34 year olds and a quarter of 45-54 year olds. The most popular Alexa device among all age groups proves to be the Echo Dot, which is smaller and cheaper than the Echo.

In terms of everyday tasks, most consumers regularly use their Echo to play music (96%) and ask basic questions (91%) but only just over a third use it to control smart home devices or maintain a shopping list. Only 17% add items to their shopping basket using Alexa and a mere 8% repurchase products or shop for items that haven’t been purchased before. A quarter regularly use it to find restaurants, illustrating potential opportunities for the food service industry.

Those who use their devices to make purchases tend toward low-risk, low-cost or repeat-purchase items such as music, household products, and pet or baby supplies. Two-thirds have never used Alexa to make a purchase. Their reasons largely come down to security concerns, an inability to see items or compare prices, worries about accidental purchases by children, and simply not having explored all of the device’s functions.

If Amazon can address security issues, integrate a child-safe feature, and better promote the capabilities of Alexa, the amount of users that purchase items using Alexa is likely to rise, the study suggests. Those who do shop already agree the process is simple—a large majority of users found re-ordering (85%) and purchasing new products (63%) easy.

There are also opportunities for brands to better dominate this space once these issues have been addressed. The survey showed that Fitbit was the most popular branded skill, followed by Domino’s, WeMo and Uber. Nevertheless, the adoption of these skills remains fairly low. With improvements, updates and better promotion of the device’s capabilities, Alexa could start to play a major part in the customer journey.

The Innovation Group and Mindshare will launch Speak Easy, a groundbreaking piece of research into the future of voice technology, in London on the 5th of April.

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