Emily Groch
Emily Groch is Mintel Comperemedia’s Director of Insights, Telecommunications, providing omni-channel marketing analysis and competitive insights to telecom providers.

One of Mintel’s 2018 North America Consumer Trends, ‘Life in Sync: Voice & Visuals,’ looks at increasing consumer adoption of smart assistants like Amazon’s Alexa as consumers embrace voice control. Physical and digital worlds are blurring to help streamline activities at home, and make our hectic lives more manageable. As consumers become more comfortable using voice to control, and are purchasing smart speakers, telecommunications providers have been quick to embrace the conveniences of voice assistance. Comcast, a pioneer in voice-enabled search for TV service, has just released version 2.0 of its voice remote, while DISH has been marketing its own voice-enabled remote along with its integration with Amazon Alexa. This holiday season, in particular, both Amazon Echo and Google Home smart speakers have emerged as key incentives in promotions across internet, TV, wireless, and home security marketing.

Last holiday, Mintel Comperemedia observed limited holiday offers from the telecom industry featuring Echo devices, despite the fact that Amazon Echo devices have been widely available since 2015. During the 2016 holidays, a few smaller providers offered a free Echo Dot when signing up for service, while Sprint and Verizon promoted holiday sweepstakes promoting the Amazon Echo as one of the prizes.

This year, however, Echo devices are all over telecom holiday promotions. On Cyber Monday, Vivint offered a free Amazon Echo and doorbell camera to new customers. Protect America, CREDO and Layer3 TV also offered a free Echo Dot when signing up for eligible services. The recently launched Google Home has been creeping into this year’s holiday promotions, as well. Verizon offered a choice between a Google Home, Nest Thermostat E, or $100 Target Gift Card with qualifying new Fios subscriptions. Other examples of holiday promotions centered around smart speakers include:

Because telecommunications providers have a vested interest in keeping their customers as connected as possible, we should continue to observe smart speakers, and other connected home products, at the center of telecom marketing efforts in 2018. It’s highly likely that we would observe other TV providers following DISH’s lead in offering integration with Alexa and other voice assistants, as consumer adoption of smart speakers expands. Plus, the smart speaker space should grow even more competitive in 2018 with the launch of Apple’s HomePod. We’re likely to observe wireless providers promoting HomePod to their existing iPhone customers, who have already shown a propensity for Apple products, and may be most likely to purchase other devices in Apple’s ecosystem.

Emily Groch is Mintel Comperemedia’s Director of Insights, Telecommunications. She provides omni-channel marketing analysis and competitive insights to wireless, TV, internet, over-the-top, and home security service providers across the US and Canada.