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article imageAlexa and Cortana are growing at Siri's expense

By James Walker     Jul 11, 2017 in Technology
A report has found newer digital assistants including Amazon's Alexa and Microsoft's Cortana are gaining market share at the expense of established services. Despite releasing several new features this year, Apple's Siri is facing declining engagement.
Digital assistants are being widely hyped as the future standard for interacting with computers. For the companies creating voice AIs, it's critical that customers use the product frequently and stay engaged over time. According to a new report from Verto Analytics, overall adoption of assistants remains "sluggish" and smartphone users still prefer to complete tasks using the touchscreen.
Apple's Siri remains the most-used digital assistant app. Over 7.3 million people ask Siri a question each month, rather than opening a web browser or search interface. While the figure is substantially larger than any of the assistant's rivals, it represents a decline by 15 percent over the same period last year.
The news will worry Apple as it faces stiff competition from rivals in the digital assistant space. In the past year, the company has invested more resources into developing Siri features after facing criticism for letting it stagnate. The report suggests the work that went into 2016's iOS 10 and this year's upcoming iOS 11 update hasn't paid off. Overall engagement with Siri has fallen from 21 percent to 11 percent.
In the same timeframe, Amazon's Alexa has more than doubled its engagement. It has leapt from 10 percent to 22 percent. Simultaneously, the number of active users has grown by 325 percent to 2.8 million each month.
Microsoft's Cortana has also seen notable improvements. Its number of active users has grown by 350 percent to 0.7 million. The number remains low even though Cortana is installed on over 500 million Windows 10 PCs. Cortana has managed to triple its engagement though, suggesting people who are using the feature tend to do so regularly. It has jumped from 19 percent to 60 percent.
In general, Verto Analytics reported that consumers are still sceptical of the benefits of digital assistants. Only 44 percent of people use a personal assistant at all during a month. On average, users spend just 12 minutes per month in an assistant app.
"Despite all the hype, AI-driven personal assistant apps have yet to gain a sturdy foothold among consumers," said Hannu Verkasolo, CEO of Verto Analytics. "AI-driven apps and services are still very much in their early days. As this market grows and we examine consumer adoption of these apps, it will be important for brands and publishers to understand how and when consumers are using them, and with what other apps and services.
Verto noted there's a trend towards smart home-oriented assistants, such as Alexa, which is coming at the expense of traditional smartphone-bound offerings like Siri. This may develop more over time as families start to buy into the connected home concept. Overall, interest remains very low though, implying tech companies don't yet understand what consumers want from a digital assistant.
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