No surprise: Alexa might not be the most impartial shopping tool.
When consumers use voice search on Amazon Echo for products and don’t specify a brand—e.g., "paper towels" rather than "Brawny paper towels"—Alexa first suggests an Amazon’s Choice item more than half (54%) of the time, according to October 2017 Bain & Company research. This is followed by the top search result, recommended 41% of the time.
Meanwhile, when a shopper searches by voice for a product for which Amazon has a private-label version, Alexa suggests it 17% of the time—despite private labels only making up 2% of products sold on Amazon, per Bain & Company.
This isn’t the biggest problem facing consumer packaged goods (CPG) manufacturers upping their digital presence, but as voice searching—and purchasing—becomes more widespread, voice-search rankings could be more of an issue.
In November 2017, Capgemini predicted that current voice assistant users in the US and Western Europe will increase their share of spending via voice from 3% today to 18% in three years. (Even those who don't currently use voice assistants are forecast to spend 7% via voice at that time.)