4 Unexpected Takeaways From Walker Sands’ Future of Retail Report

Toilets, money, Trump and drugs

13% of survey respondents said they'd like to use voice tech on the john. Getty Images
Headshot of Lisa Lacy

Sure, voice is big these days, but it’s also turning commerce into a daily activity that happens as consumers go about their lives. That’s according to PR firm Walker Sands’ Future of Retail 2018 report.

The survey was based on responses from 1,600 U.S. consumers. Here are the highlights of what they said about voice technology, Amazon and shopping:

1. Consumers want to use voice assistants while they poop.

The study found the top locations for voice-controlled devices within the home include the living room (55 percent), kitchen (33 percent) and bedroom (27 percent). Another 14 percent of consumers put them in their bathrooms.

Speaking of which, while consumers said they would like to see more hands-free commands in the car (41 percent), on TVs (38 percent) and with in-home appliances (24 percent). They also said they’d like hands-free commands they can use in the shower (19 percent) and while on the toilet (13 percent).

2. Consumers will cough up more than $50 for a product they’ve never seen before if they can voice-order it.

Of the consumers who own a voice-controlled device, 50 percent have used it to make a purchase in the past year. And 36 percent of consumers say they’re at least somewhat likely to purchase a product via voice in the next year.

Consumers cite the lack of visuals (35 percent) on voice devices as a roadblock to voice shopping, but 21 percent of consumers with voice-controlled devices still say they would pay more than $50 for a product they’ve never ordered on Amazon before without seeing it first. (Fifteen percent also say they have purchased a product from Amazon because it was faster, even if the product was more expensive.)

3. Trump has united the country in one respect.

More than two-thirds (65 percent) of consumers said the Trump administration has affected their shopping behavior, which is up from 40 percent in 2017.

That’s reflected in the 28 percent of consumers who say they shop more often because they believe the economy is better in 2018 but also in the 49 percent of consumers who say they are paying more attention to brands’ social policies since Trump’s election.

More than half of consumers ages 18 to 25 say their awareness of and concern for a brand’s social policies has increased, and about one in five (21 percent) say they shop less often at retailers that openly support Trump.

4. Consumers would buy drugs from Amazon if they could.

While it remains to be seen whether Amazon tackles the pharmaceutical industry, more than a third of consumers (35 percent) said they would use Amazon to fill prescriptions online. Top reasons include the ability to ship quickly (61 percent), existing trust in Amazon (54 percent) and an easier ordering process due to Amazon’s access to customer information (43 percent). These consumers cited a new and more convenient experience and cost savings among the reasons they are excited about Amazon’s potential move.

Younger consumers are more willing to use Amazon pharmaceuticals (46 percent of those 18 to 25 and 51 percent of those 26 to 35).

@lisalacy lisa.lacy@adweek.com Lisa Lacy is a senior writer at Adweek, where she focuses on retail and the growing reach of Amazon.