Amazon Alexa Now Has 50,000 Skills Worldwide, works with 20,000 Devices, Used by 3,500 Brands
Amazon revealed yesterday through a blog post by Ted Karczewski and a presentation at IFA (aka Europe’s CES) by Daniel Rausch, Amazon’s vice president of smart home, that there are now more than 50,000 Alexa skills worldwide. Both sources also reported that Alexa is now compatible with 20,000 devices and is used by more than 3,500 brands. That is up from 4,000 devices and 1,200 brands at the beginning of 2018. If you thought that Google’s recent surge in worldwide smart speaker sales was denting Alexa’s market momentum, you may need to rethink that position.
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Alexa Skill Count Rises
Amazon passed the 40,000 worldwide Alexa skill count no later than May 3rd when FastCompany reported the figure as part of an interview with Amazon’s VP of Alexa Steve Rabuchin. Assuming the timing of the announcements roughly correlated with the milestone achievement, it appears that Alexa skills are growing at a rate of about 10,000 for every 121 days. Amazon began reporting worldwide Alexa skill numbers as new milestones were reached, but has not recently broken out skills by country. However, Voicebot does track this data for several countries.
As of August 30th, there were 66,410 combined skills listed in the U.S., U.K. and Germany. There were clearly many more when you add in Japan, India, Australia and Canada. However, many of the skills are duplicates, particularly for the U.S., U.K. and other English-speaking countries. Amazon is reporting unique skills which seems like the right way to do it. I mentioned in the new Voice Insider newsletter last week that Amazon was talking widely about focusing on high quality skills that drive engagement and repeat usage, but the company still cared about volume. The continued highlighting of Alexa skill totals which far exceed those of rival Google Assistant is about suggesting there is differentiated value and that everyone is supporting the platform.
20,000 Alexa-compatible Devices
Another big milestone for Alexa is surpassing 20,000 compatible devices. That represents 400% growth in about eight months considering that Amazon said it started the year compatible with just 4,000 devices. What this number suggests is that Alexa-compatibility has quickly emerged as an industry standard.
3,500 Brands on Alexa
If you are wondering whether brands are committing to Alexa, Mr. Rausch also said that figure had almost tripled sine the beginning of 2018. During his IFA presentation, he said that 3,500 brands are on Alexa today compared to only 1,200 in January. Brands are increasingly turning their attention to voice and as the global market share leader today, Alexa is often the preferred starting point.
Hundreds of Thousands of Developers in 180 Countries
Another important statement by Rausch and reported by CNET was that there are now hundreds of thousands of Alexa skill developers in 180 countries. It was estimated in early 2017 that there were fewer than 15,000 Alexa developers. This tells us two things. First, Amazon has grown Alexa developer support by at least 14 times over about 20 months. And, development interest in Alexa is not limited to countries where language-localized versions are available. Many of these developers are clearly working with the voice assistant in a language that is either not their native tongue or has a variant of the supported languages, but is not localized. Hundreds of thousands is a lot less than the millions of Android and iOS developers, but it shows strong progress.
Alexa is Driving Business Growth for Device Makers
Dealerscope’s Rob Stott also reported that Rausch showed how Alexa-integration was directly impacting business for device makers.
According to data cited by Rausch, businesses saw a 43 percent lift in business in the nine months after launching an Alexa-enabled product…Rausch, again citing Amazon’s data, said that when a company … Works With Alexa capabilities into their product (meaning you could ask Alexa to control that device) businesses on average see a 53 percent boost to their business almost immediately.
Stott is calling this The Alexa Effect. The data reveal two important conclusions. First, consumers are interested in Alexa-compatible or fully Alexa-enabled products. That is evident by consumer purchase behavior revealed in Rausch’s data. Second, that increase in consumer purchases is driving more revenue for device makers. If you are not adding voice to your products, and in particular Alexa capabilities to your devices, you may be missing out on a lot of sales.
Alexa Continues to Show Momentum
Amazon faces some challenges in meeting Google’s torrid pace of new language rollouts and country support. Alexa also has a weakness on smartphones compared to Google Assistant and Siri because of their deep integrations with Android and iOS respectively. However, Alexa has a rock solid position in the home in several markets. Some of that is based on the strength of Amazon’s successful merchandizing of Echo smart speakers, but the momentum may now have shifted to Alexa-enabled devices of which there are many.
This article was updated at 8:15 am EST on September 2nd to reflect clarifications provided by an Amazon spokesperson.