Over the last few years, voice assistant technology has become more and more ubiquitous. There are several brands of voice activated speakers, computers, even refrigerators, available to help with everyday tasks, keeping track of appointments, ordering things online, and everything else in between. 

Given the growing availability of voice assistant technology, CivicScience decided to check back in on the tech trend and adoption in America.

As it turns out, though near half of the population (48%) hasn’t used AI voice assistants at all, another 33% likes them. These numbers are basically unchanged since the end of 2018, when the technology first began to make a splash in the consumer marketplace. 

That being said, the most common use of voice assistants is on smartphones (33% adoption rate), followed by car usage (13%). 

And the most common use of voice commands on a smartphone is for making a call or writing a text (27%), followed by searching for something on the web (19%).

Interestingly, though virtually all smartphones come equipped with a built in voice assistant, still more than two-thirds (69%) of the population doesn’t use the technology at all, and that trend (or anti-trend) has only grown over time.

This may be due to a hesitancy to adopt a new habit, or perhaps people just aren’t sure of how it works. As data show, nearly half of the population (40%) doesn’t stay up-to-date on changing tech trends.

Regardless of the reason why, adoption does fall distinctly along age groups, which shouldn’t be surprising.

What’s noteworthy is that even among the youngest age demographic, still over half of Gen Zers do not use voice commands on their smartphones.

When we zoom out from use of mobile voice assistants to overall AI use, we see similar adoption rates by age.

Gen X is most likely to have used and enjoyed using an AI voice assistant, with lack of interest highest among Millenials. Notably, lack of interest is higher than enjoyed use across all age groups. 

And when we take a look across income, we see another predicted effect: as income increases, so too does use of AI voice assistants (regardless of whether the experience was satisfactory or not), though only by slim margins.

Across all age and income groups, there is a consistent 4% to 6% of the population that hasn’t used AI voice assistants but plans to — a small target market for companies selling these products. 

The implication here is that AI voice assistants might be facing an uphill battle in overall perception of their usefulness. Having moved little in satisfactory use over the course of the last three years, perhaps the technology needs to be able to do more than update an appointment time or take a note before people begin adopting them in larger numbers. Or perhaps, in the end, people don’t trust technology that much, and AI voice assistants may be one step too far in an uncomfortable direction.