Hiring virtual assistants is one of the quickest ways to scale your business. From accounting to digital marketing, they can handle a wide variety of tasks.
It allows you to focus on urgent business matters and longer-term strategies. This will let you handle the growing workload without getting burnt out.
That’s why you need to keep tabs on the latest trends in the virtual assistant industry.
In this article, we’ll cover the top six virtual assistant trends in 2023 that will continue to shape business decisions in 2024. We’ll also highlight the key takeaways from each of these virtual assistant trends.
Let’s get started!
6 virtual assistant trends for businesses to consider in 2024
The global intelligent virtual assistant market is constantly evolving. Spanning conversational AI, voice assistants, smart speakers, and customer service, the virtual assistant industry statistics indicate a boom in the market over the past decade.
Similarly, the personal virtual assistant market has also been expanding. From taking customer experience and customer service calls to uploading blog posts, virtual assistants come in handy for businesses across various sectors.
So much so that giants like Alphabet Inc., Amazon.com Inc., Apple Inc., Microsoft Corporation, and Oracle are emerging as the major market vendors in the virtual assistant and intelligent virtual assistant market.
Here are the latest trends you should watch out for in 2024:
1. The growing army of remote freelancers
The worldwide impact of the COVID-19 pandemic has led to a steady rise in freelancers working remotely and participating in the gig economy. Be it for project management or an administrative task, an increasing number of freelancers are stepping up to offer virtual assistant services.
According to a 2022 Statista Projection, 86.5 million people could be freelancing in the United States by 2027.
Many full-time service providers have switched to freelancing and provide virtual assistant services for the tasks or fields they specialize in. In fact, the 2022 virtual assistant statistics reveal that 59% of virtual assistants are full-time employees. They enjoy the several benefits of remote work, like a flexible schedule, better work-life balance, higher work productivity, and so on.
Consequently, businesses can hugely benefit from this flourishing virtual assistant market. Whether it’s for handling your business’s social media marketing or conducting market research, you can easily find the right virtual assistant from the growing pool of freelancers.
Further, companies can save more by hiring virtual assistants as they don’t expect any perks or medical benefits.
It’s also highly likely to get good referrals for a particular job from a freelancer you’ve previously hired. Since freelancers handle various projects and clients, they develop a wider professional network with people across different departments.
As a business owner, you can leverage their connections to save your human resources’ efforts and find the perfect virtual assistant for a given job.
What’s the key takeaway?
To sum up, here’s why businesses should rely on the rising number of freelancers and the virtual assistant market advancements:
- Freelancers are habituated to work independently and require the least supervision from your end.
- You have the flexibility to hire freelancers on a contractual basis if you require their virtual assistant services for a specific period only.
- Before hiring a virtual assistant, you can assess their work quality and experience on several virtual assistant websites like LinkedIn, Upwork, Fiverr, etc.
2. Increased reach of high-speed internet
Developing economies in South America and the Asia Pacific (like India) are reporting better internet connectivity with each passing year. For example, 96% of Asia Pacific is covered by mobile broadband networks as of 2022.
The internet and social media have created job opportunities for people residing in remote corners of the world. Individuals have a platform to connect and collaborate with industry experts from the comfort of their homes.
According to a TeleGeography study, the global market internet bandwidth rose 28% over the course of 2022. Additionally, it’s estimated that the United States government will spend approximately USD 65 billion to improve the digital infrastructure over the next decade.
The virtual assistant market hugely benefits from the implementation of high-speed internet and wireless networks.
As a result, the global intelligent virtual assistant and conversational AI market is estimated to reach USD 62 billion by 2032. This includes key players (like Amazon Echo, Alexa, Apple Homepad, Siri, and Google Home) that rely on technologies like:
- Speech recognition.
- Machine learning.
- Voice assistance.
- Smartphone smart speaker.
- Artificial intelligence based user interface.
Moreover, the global virtual assistant market size is expected to grow by USD 4.12 billion by 2025, growing at 11.79% CAGR. This gives more people the option of remote work for virtual assistants and voice assistants.
What’s the key takeaway?
To sum up, here’s how businesses can profit from the wide scale installation of internet and WiFi services:
- Good internet connectivity helps you stay in touch with your remote workers and get regular work updates.
- Your virtual assistant can access, download, and share data and other official documents while working from anywhere.
- The internet encourages self-learning and eliminates the need for additional training.
3. The rise of remote-friendly startups
70% of the startups offer some form of remote work, according to Crunchbase.
More importantly, a large number of small businesses and startups also outsource their tasks to a VA.
Startups are always looking for smarter, cost-effective methodologies that can help them get better results at lower prices. And a virtual staff can help you save more money by eliminating the need for a larger office space.
To be precise, they can save the average US employer over $11,000 in operating costs every year.
Additionally, a virtual assistant’s broad exposure to several industries and work practices helps them develop diverse skills and business acumen. Your business can utilize this to drive higher profits.
According to the virtual assistant statistics from a 2021 Business wire study, the freelance virtual assistant market will grow by $4 billion between 2021 and 2025.
What’s the key takeaway?
To sum up, here’s how remote-friendly startups can benefit from the market growth of virtual assistants:
- Virtual assistants can quickly familiarize themselves with the digital tools used at remote workspaces as they have prior experience working in a virtual environment.
- Smart speakers and intelligent assistant services that use artificial intelligence, machine learning, conversational AI based speech recognition, etc., can help reduce business costs.
- Remote companies can access a wider talent pool and recruit a virtual personal assistant from any corner of the world, as long as they meet the criteria.
- Virtual assistants usually follow a flexible work schedule, perfect for remote startups that generally don’t stick to strict working hours. So virtual assistants can help you with urgent tasks even during the weekends if the need arises.
4. Plan for outsourcing and cost savings
Due to the widespread impact of the COVID-19 pandemic, many businesses have incurred huge losses, both in terms of clients and capital. It has compelled many organizations to prioritize cost savings and embrace the trend of outsourcing.
Deloitte’s 2022 Global Outsourcing Survey reveals that global spending on outsourcing could hit USD 971.2 billion by 2023. This would include services such as:
- Google assistant.
- Automatic speech recognition.
- Conversational AI based chatbot services, etc.
This trend plays a crucial role in the personal virtual assistant market too.
Many companies in Europe, North America, South America, and the Middle East have been outsourcing and hiring an administrative assistant or other virtual assistants who can offer them top-notch services at affordable prices.
Any virtual assistant can offer assistance for tasks by working far from their home base. They can assist any end-user or provide customer support for the healthcare industry, real estate, retail, and BFSI (Banking, financial services, and insurance) sectors.
According to a Business Wire Survey, the Global Healthcare Virtual Assistants Market is estimated to be worth USD 439.1 million (2022), and is projected to reach USD 2,103.75 million by 2027.
Even real estate and e-commerce business owners can outsource any task requiring particular expertise like graphic designing, customer experience, social media marketing, and so on.
Outsourcing work to a team of virtual assistants can significantly bring down your small business costs. For instance, you won’t have to pay them any monthly travel allowance or offer reimbursements for any work trips.
You only need to pay for the exact working hours and don’t have to cover the costs of medical benefits, office equipment, and other expenses of maintaining any full-time employee.
According to a 2021 Deloitte survey, 88% of the companies that outsource their tasks to virtual assistants were able to achieve their goal of reduced costs and higher efficiency.
What’s the key takeaway?
To sum up, here’s how businesses can generate more profits by outsourcing virtual assistant jobs:
- The demand for virtual assistants will constantly grow as more companies adopt remote and hybrid work models.
- Outsourcing accounting and other administrative task requirements can free up your time and resources, which you can dedicate to complex tasks.
- An outsourcing vendor brings in specialized knowledge and assures quality deliverables for your business.
5. The shift towards a flexible work schedule
A flexible work schedule gives remote employees the freedom to work during their most productive hours. In fact, in a 2021 survey by Gartner, 43% of remote workers said that flexibility in working hours helped them achieve greater productivity.
So as a business owner, you can utilize this trend to your advantage by hiring virtual assistants and remote workers who can help you deliver better results.
Instead of logging in for 40 hours every week, virtual assistants can choose to work for 20 hours, depending on their workload.
Allowing your virtual team to work flexible schedules can help you retain and attract talented resources. It enables you to build a team of highly motivated employees and promotes a healthy work culture.
According to a 2021 JLL study in India, 91% of the respondents favor flexible or remote working schedules.
Additionally, hiring virtual assistants and giving them the flexibility to work from anywhere helps them stay in a positive mindframe.
It’s no surprise then that a case study of over 12,455 respondents in 2022 reported that remote work increases employee happiness by as much as 20%.
What’s the key takeaway?
To sum up, here’s how businesses can improve work productivity by offering flexible work schedules:
- A flexible work schedule improves job satisfaction levels.
- Offering flexible work arrangements helps you build a positive brand reputation and enhances your business’s market size.
- It helps your employees avoid traffic and commute stress, and makes more room for their work and relaxation.
6. Integration of digital tools
Digital tools can help you scale daily business operations, reduce paperwork, manage payrolls, and streamline team communications. You can also make real-time updates, access customer satisfaction insights, and unlock advanced automation capabilities.
Additionally, integrating digital tools can help companies manage their remote employees and virtual assistants with absolute ease.
As per a 2022 Statista report, 79% of employees, including virtual assistants and remote employees, have been using online collaboration tools for digital transformation in 2021.
For instance, Time Doctor is one such productivity management tool that can help you increase the efficiency of your virtual assistants.
What’s Time Doctor?
Time Doctor is a powerful time tracking tool used by large enterprises like Ericsson, as well as by small businesses like Thrive Market, to elevate organizational performance.
You can also access Time Doctor’s detailed reports to analyze your employees’ daily and weekly working hours. This way, you can understand the amount of time they spend on each task.
These tools give you increased accessibility so that you can reach out to your virtual assistants at any hour of the day. Moreover, virtual assistants are more adept at working with digital tools and require the slightest assistance from you.
What’s the key takeaway?
To sum up, here’s why businesses should integrate with digital tools for managing virtual assistants:
- Digital tools like project management software give your virtual assistants easy access to information, data entry, and files in one centralized place.
- You can easily discuss project briefs, weekly tasks, and client updates via video, call, or chat.
- Digital tools can help you with the online scheduling of tasks and meetings and streamline internal team communication.
The recent virtual assistant trends emphasize the significance of hiring a virtual assistant, especially after the COVID crisis.
It can help your business deliver well even on a low budget, increase the profit margin for your services or products, and ultimately raise your market share.
Once you align your business with the virtual assistant industry statistics and trends we’ve mentioned above, you’ll be able to manage any task.
With the support and initiative of the right team, you can establish yourself as one of the key players in the market and make your mark in this competitive landscape.