Report: More Than 8 Million People Now Own Amazon Echo Devices
Four-in-five Amazon customers are familiar with Echo, and the company expects to ship 10 million smart speakers in 2017.
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“Alexa, bring voice assistants into the mainstream.”
According to new research, Amazon sold 3.1 million Amazon Echo devices during Q4 of 2016—and today, more than 8 million homes have welcomed Alexa as their newest family member. The company expects to ship another 10 million this year.
Consumer Intelligence Research Partners also found that awareness of Alexa among Amazon shoppers has nearly doubled in a year: 82 percent of shoppers are aware of the devices (compared to 47 percent this time last year). This uptick can be attributed to a holiday ad campaign and a special sale for Prime members in which the device’s price-tag dropped to $99, or $100 off the regular cost.
Amazon Echo first launched in 2014, and at the time had about 20 “Skills,” which are the name for the various integrations and apps that can communicate with Alexa. Today, there are more than 5,000 Skills, and CEO Jeff Bezos has confirmed that at least 1,000 Amazon employees are dedicated to pushing the technology forward.
Some of the Skills available to Echo users include a Domino’s Pizza Skill (for ordering your favorite pie), mindfulness Skills for self-guided meditation, a Jeopardy Skill for testing your trivia chops, an Allrecipes Skill for upping your culinary prowess and a 1-800-Flowers Skill for showing your loved ones you care. It is estimated that 100 new Skills emerge every day.
The emergence of brands among Echo’s library of Skills underscores marketers’ growing desire to provide value to consumers in a way that fits into their everyday lives. As voice recognition and IoT products like Echo and Google Home become more widely adopted, brands with an interest in simplifying or improving the consumer experience will begin testing the waters.
For many consumers who are skeptical about talking to a machine, the biggest hurdle seems to be trying it out. Rob Pulciani, Director of Amazon Alexa, recently told Campaign magazine that once people actually use a voice service, they are more apt to see how convenient it can be.
While smart speakers like Echo and Home have yet to fully break into mainstream culture—only 3.3 percent of households own such devices—the research firm Gartner predicts that the market for assistant-enabled speakers will top $2 billion in just three years.
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