Verto Analytics today released a new report titled “Rise of the Machines: How AI-Driven Personal Assistant Apps Are Shaping Digital Consumer Habits.”

The report analyzed mobile app usage of U.S. consumers between May 2016 and May 2017, based on Verto Analytics’ consumer-centric audience measurement methodology, ranking the most popular AI-powered apps used on smartphones including Amazon’s Alexa, Siri and Google-owned properties.

Verto Analytics found that usage of personal assistants apps – apps which use artificial intelligence (AI), machine learning and cloud-based natural language processes to accomplish everyday tasks, such as messaging, navigation, accessing entertainment content or searching information – has shown spotty growth and even some decline among consumers. While some personal assistant apps have seen some major user growth, in general, this sector has experienced stagnation and even a decrease in users among certain apps like Siri. In its analysis of the actual usage of personal assistants apps on mobile devices, Verto Analytics discovered the following consumer behavior trends:

Phone-based personal assistant apps, such as Siri and S-Voice, are slowly falling in popularity, with one exception: navigation and maps. Usage of personal assistant apps peaks at 10am, 1pm, and experiences a steady climb from 2pm-7pm, before dropping off in the evening. Personal assistant apps are often used before or after Google Maps – and people generically are using personal assistant apps when they are moving from place to another, and when they are commuting

The personal assistant ‘super user’— someone who spend more than twice as much time on this category of apps as the average consumer — is a 52-year old female who spends 1.5 hours per month on personal assistant apps. The personal assistant apps users base skews towards older women, which is a demographic population that traditionally falls outside of the expected early adopter user base.

While 44 percent of smartphones had a personal assistant app that was used at least once in May 2017, users spend only 12 minutes per month on these kinds of apps.

“Despite all the hype, AI-driven personal assistant apps have yet to gain a sturdy foothold among consumers,” said Hannu Verkasalo, CEO of Verto Analytics, in a statement. “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.”

The report also goes beyond user numbers with “day in the life” data, which illustrates the actual usage of the personal assistant apps during the course of the day. Verto also conducted a funnel analysis of consumer activity to identify which apps consumers use before and after personal assistant apps, in understanding the overall context of usage.

Other findings from the report include:

• While Siri is still the top-ranking personal assistant app based on number of unique monthly users, between May 2016 and May 2017 Siri’s active user base declined with 7.3 million monthly users (nearly 15 percent of its total) – at the same time Android mobile devices have gained popularity

• User engagement with Siri has also dropped significantly over the same time period: the app’s “Stickiness Index” (a metric that quantifies engagement by comparing daily users to monthly users) dropped by nearly half – from 21 percent to 11 percent.

• Amazon’s Alexa has seen a 325 percent increase in monthly unique users (from 0.8 million to 2.8 million) during the past year, and has more than doubled its stickiness rating, from 10 percent to 22 percent.

• Microsoft’s Cortana has also seen a significant jump in monthly unique user numbers, from 0.2 million to 0.7 million (a 350 percent increase), with stickiness ratings tripling from 19 percent to 60 percent.

• Verto’s single-source measurement methodology is based on behavioral data gathered from a panel of opt-in consumers that own and use multiple devices. Verto measures from the point of consumer interaction across all platforms, media, content and devices.

More info in the 2017 Personal Assistant Apps Report here.

Source: Verto Analytics

MacDailyNews Take: The consequences of Apple’s glacial pace at improving Siri over the years are self-evident.

As of today, Siri still works best on our Apple Watches. Whether that’s because of microphone quality of placement on our wrists or whatever, when we want to use Siri and we’re at our desks surrounded by Siri-capable Macs, iPhones, and iPads, we choose to use our Apple Watches because Siri is just more reliable and noticeably better on Apple Watch.

Perhaps HomePod, where voice is the method of controlling Apple’s smart Siri speaker, will prompt dissatisfied users to give Siri another try.

Siri’s current placement, given its massive head start and the fact that HomePod (and for that matter, iMac Pro) won’t ship until “December” (meaning not until Q1 2018 in quantity) is an appalling display of utter mismanagement. — MacDailyNews, June 7, 2017

It’s a good thing for Tim Cook and Apple’s brass that Steve Jobs left them the iPhone to mask over all of their mistakes that the casual observer can’t even see, but which are painfully obvious to the rest of us.MacDailyNews, June 6, 2017

Apple seeks Siri Event Maven ahead of HomePod launch – June 27, 2017
Video showdown: Apple’s Siri vs. Google Assistant – June 16, 2017
How Apple’s once-revolutionary Siri lost its edge – June 7, 2017
Lazy Apple. It’s not hard to imagine Steve Jobs asking, ‘What have you been doing for the last four years?’ – December 9, 2016