Why are certain AI English conversation apps “chosen” over others? Exploring how each app is used

Why are certain AI English conversation apps “chosen” over others? Exploring how each app is used

Spring is the season for trying something new, and many want to commit to learning English. Many apps have emerged that offer easy, self-paced English-learning. We will focus on Speak, ELSA Speak, SpeakBUDDY, and Duolingo and analyze the data to investigate the latest trends in AI English conversation apps.


Comparing three AI English conversation apps: Speak, ELSA Speak, and SpeakBUDDY

AI English conversation apps allow people to practice English with AI (artificial intelligence) using their smartphone or computer. It is cheaper than taking one-on-one lessons with a human English instructor because it involves learning and practicing English with an AI-generated partner and is based on an individually optimized curriculum, and the advantage is that you can learn without the restrictions often associated with time, allowing you to practice English anytime anywhere.

AI English conversation apps vary in terms of English level, the amount of teaching materials, price range, etc., so it is important to choose an app that suits your goals. Speak, ELSA Speak, and SpeakBUDDY are apps that have been attracting attention among the many English-learning apps.

We will compare the users of these three apps and study why they are particularly popular among the many AI English conversation apps. First, let's briefly summarize their differences.

Speak

An app provided by Speakeasy Labs, Inc., a Silicon Valley-based company which OpenAI, known for ChatGPT, also has invested in. It allows approximately ten times more speaking practice than conventional English conversation services, making it attractive for people who want to drastically increase their level of expression.

ELSA Speak

An app from ELSA, Corp., a company headquartered in San Francisco. It is especially recommended for those who want to correct their English pronunciation, as it instantly analyzes the sounds spoken by the user, compares them with the pronunciation of a native speaker, and provides a score based on how close the pronunciation is to the correct pronunciation as a percentage.

SpeakBUDDY

An app provided by SpeakBUDDY Ltd. You can strengthen your confidence when it comes to speaking English by practicing communication with an expressive AI character. The attractive point about this app is that you can study for various everyday situations such as casual English conversations, business English, and English for using when traveling overseas, according to your own English-learning objectives.

Material from SpeakBUDDY translated by VALUES

ELSA Speak is popular in an educational setting and SpeakBUDDY is popular among older people

First, let's check the trends in the number of users for each app.

For analysis, we will use VALUES’ online behavior log analytics tool "Dockpit," which allows you to analyze competitors’ websites and investigate trends using behavioral data updated every month, all within your browser.

Trends in the number of Speak, ELSA Speak, SpeakBUDDY users (app users)
Period: October 2023 - March 2024
Device: Smartphone

As of March 2024, you can see that Speak, SpeakBUDDY, and ELSA Speak have the highest number of app users in that order. Speak has rapidly increased the number of users in the last three months. On the other hand, we found that the number of ELSA Speak users is more constant compared to the other two.

Next, let's take a look at the gender ratio of each app's users. From the figure below, you can see that there is almost no difference between genders.

Speak, ELSA Speak, and SpeakBUDDY app users by gender
Period: October 2023 - March 2024
Device: Smartphone

All three apps seem to be used by both genders.

Next, we will look at the percentage of users of each app by age group. See the diagram below.

Speak, ELSA Speak and SpeakBUDDY app users by age group
Period: October 2023 - March 2024
Device: Smartphone

The percentage of Speak users by age group was about 10% higher for those in their 20s than for all Internet users overall. Additionally, ELSA Speak is unique in that 30% of its users are in their 20s. On the other hand, SpeakBUDDY has a higher percentage of users in their 40s and above than the percentage of users in their 20s and 30s.

One of the reasons behind the high percentage of young people using ELSA Speak may be that it is being adopted in educational settings.

(Reference: Major educational institutions are implementing ELSA Speak! 5 advantages of using ELSA Speak for education) [Only in Japanese]

https://media.elsaspeak.com/IgMuTr1r/kQO-odJb

こちらは発音アプリ「ELSA Speak」の オフィシャルオウンドメディアです。 私たちのテーマは「英語で、人生を豊かにする。このメディアを通じて、ELSA Speakの最適な使い方や 実際にELSAを活用して英語能力を飛躍的に向上させた ビジネスパーソンの実体験など、 さまざまな有益な情報をお届けします。 ELSAを通して英語の可能性を最大限に引き出す方法、 効果的な学習テクニックなど、 英語学習に関する価値ある コンテンツを提供してまいります。 英語を更に深く、そして楽しみながら 習得するための情報源として、 ぜひ「ELSA MEDIA」をご活用ください。

Learning that incorporates electronic devices, such as studying using apps and websites, is thought to be easier to get used to and is popular among younger people than with older people. However, SpeakBUDDY goes against this hypothesis and has gained high support from older age groups.

SpeakBUDDY’s service was designed to help you learn to speak English conversations that sound natural, rather than focusing on specific points in English conversation, like how Speak focuses on the level of expression and how ELSA Speak focuses on correcting pronunciation. Therefore, it can be said that the target group is relatively wide.

Also, unlike the simple designs of the other two apps, SpeakBUDDY’s use of AI characters may make it more user-friendly and more likely to be chosen by a wide range of age groups.

Next, when looking at marital status and whether or not the users have children, it can be seen that SpeakBUDDY and Speak have a high percentage of married users, and ELSA Speak has a high percentage of single users compared to the other two apps.

Speak, ELSA Speak, SpeakBUDDY app users by marital status (left) children or no children (right)
Period: October 2023 - March 2024
Device: Smartphone

SpeakBUDDY has a higher percentage of married people and those with children than overall Internet users. This can be attributed to the high proportion of middle-aged and elderly users found in a survey of app users conducted by age group.

Will differentiation with other AI English conversation apps win the hearts of users?

Let's take a look at how the three apps are used together.

First, let's look at Speak users. See the diagram below.

Combined use with other apps seen from Speak
Period: October 2023 - March 2024
Device: Smartphone

72.9% of Speak users did not also use any of the other two apps. On the other hand, 16.3% of Speak users use it alongside ELSA Speak and 15.9% use it alongside SpeakBUDDY.

(Left) Combined use with other apps seen from ELSA Speak; (Right) Combined use with other apps seen from SpeakBUDDY
Period: October 2023 - March 2024
Device: Smartphone

Similarly, the combined use rate for ELSA Speak and SpeakBUDDY was around 20% at most, indicating that not many people use both.

The basic functions of each AI English conversation app, such as automatic curriculum generation using AI and conversation practice using voice recognition functions, are almost the same. Considering that distinctive functions that add value and create differentiation between apps, it may be that there are few people who use multiple apps, and many people choose apps based on the value-added functions they are looking for.

Next, we will take a look at other apps that users of each app are interested in. As a result, interest in Duolingo was the highest among all three apps.

(Left) Interest apps of Speak users (prioritizing difference in reach); (Right) Interest apps of ELSA Speak users (prioritizing difference in reach)
Aggregated from Dockpit. Period: April 2023 - March 2024
Device: Smartphone

Interest apps among SpeakBUDDY users (prioritizing difference in reach)
Aggregated from Dockpit. Period: April 2023 - March 2024
Device: Smartphone

In addition, Google Translate, a high-performance translation app, is ranked for all three apps. It may be that many of those using the three apps may have many opportunities to encounter foreign languages in their daily lives.

Duolingo was the most downloaded education-related app in Japan in 2023. It is designed to make learning feel like a game, with users competing against other users and being able to level up their avatars by earning points. In addition, one session, which includes reading, writing, listening, and speaking practice, can be completed in just five minutes, and this design has made Duolingo popular as it requires very little commitment and is great for busy people and can be practiced while on the go.

Reference: Duolingo was the most downloaded app in 2023. Learn English in the New Year with Duolingo! [Only in Japanese]

https://prtimes.jp/main/html/rd/p/000000045.000069537.html

Duolingo, Inc.のプレスリリース(2024年3月25日 11時00分)Duolingo、2023年最もダウンロードされた教育アプリに。新年度の英語学習はDuolingoで!

Over 40% of users also use Duolingo, the most popular English conversation app

Now that we have seen how popular Duolingo is in the English conversation app market, we looked into the combined use of Duolingo with Speak, ELSA Speak, and SpeakBUDDY. As a result, we found that more than 40% of users of each AI English conversation app also used Duolingo.

(Left) Combined use with each app as seen from Speak; (Right) Combined use with other apps as seen from ELSA Speak
Period: October 2023 - March 2024
Device: Smartphone

Combined use with other apps as seen from SpeakBUDDY
Period: October 2023 - March 2024
Device: Smartphone

Duolingo is an app that comprehensively teaches all four elements of English conversation: reading, writing, listening, and speaking. Many users who want to study English conversation using apps may use Duolingo as their main service, but as an added bonus, many may also use it in combination with the other three apps, taking into account the unique features of each.

Summary

We investigated three AI English conversation apps Speak, ELSA Speak, and SpeakBUDDY.

Generally, all of the latest AI English conversation apps have functions such as automatic AI-generated curriculums and conversation practice using voice recognition technology. In addition to these generally common functions, we can see that by adding functions specialized in a certain area, apps can differentiate themselves among the many genres of AI English conversation apps that have been released.

It can be considered that ELSA Speak, whose strength is correcting pronunciation, is useful in educational settings and attracts support among young people, and SpeakBUDDY, whose strength is its easy-to-understand design, attracts support among older people.

Additionally, while the combined use within the three apps addressed in this article was low, more than 40% of their users also used Duolingo, the most downloaded AI education-related app. From this, we found that apps that specialize in one area may be used to complement English learning to further strengthen the skills that each person wants to develop.

We will continue to pay attention to future trends in how each service will increase the number of users in the future.

About Dockpit

▼Data from Dockpit was used in this case study. Dockpit is an online behavior analytics tool provided by VALUES, Inc., and it allows you to access online behavioral data (updated monthly) via your browser so you can research competitor websites and investigate trends. There is a FREE version of Dockpit, so if you are interested in using it, please register below.

dockpit Get free version

※日本語での記事はこちらをご確認ください

”選ばれる”AI英会話アプリの差別化要因とは? データで各サービスの使われ方を探る

https://manamina.valuesccg.com/articles/3376

なにかと新しいことに挑戦したくなる春。「今年こそは英語学習に力を入れたい!」と考える人も多いかもしれません。近年、自分のペースで手軽に英語の勉強ができるアプリが数多くリリースされています。今回はそのなかから「Speak」、「ELSA Speak」、「SpeakBuddy」、「Duolingo」に注目し、データを分析。AI英会話アプリの最新の動向を調査します。

この記事のライター

Born and raised in the Bay Area, U.S.A, I was fascinated by the different social and purchasing behaviors between Japanese and American consumers. I studied communication for undergrad and international marketing for my graduate studies. My professional background is in bilingual recruitment and Japanese-English translation.

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