January 2018 Voice App Totals Per Voice Assistant
Individually, Amazon Alexa, Google Assistant and Microsoft Cortana all made significant strides in 2017 when it came to their voice app totals. Amazon Alexa continues to dwarf this competition with over 25,000 skills, plus a little over 12,000 skills when you factor in the totals from the U.K. and Germany. This total is even more impressive considering Amazon only had about 7,000 skills at this point last year in the US, a growth rate of 266% in one year.
However, when it comes to growth rates, Google Assistant had the biggest year. Google’s app count increased over 900% in 8 months, from 165 in April to 1719 total voice apps as of January 1. While the total pales in comparison to Amazon, Google has vastly improved the number of available apps while also increasing its number of third-party integrations.
As you can see from the chart, Microsoft Cortana barely has a presence with only 235 apps. This is a 327% increase from its May total of just 55 voice apps, but considering the volume of Amazon’s skill store and Google’s growth rate, it is not nearly as impressive. Even Amazon’s weather category in the Alexa skill store has three times as many apps as Cortana does total.
Disparate App Counts Reflect Different Market Strategies
The disparate app counts among Amazon Alexa, Google Assistant and Microsoft Cortana reflect the different market strategies each company has taken with their voice assistants. Amazon has focused on volume – it has the largest skill set and the largest selection of Alexa powered devices for consumers. Google has taken a different approach. It has instead focused on giving Google Home and the Assistant a global presence, targeting countries where it could gain a first-mover advantage over Amazon. It has also made changes to its Google Assistant app directory to increase user discovery and engagement.
And then there’s Cortana, which has yet to gain traction with consumers. This lack of consumer enthusiasm also means developers are less than motivated to create skills for a voice assistant that may never be heard. With Amazon and Google so far ahead in the consumer market, Microsoft could pivot to positions itself as a voice assistant for businesses. As long as Amazon and Google don’t get there first.