Amazon Alexa Has 100k Skills But Momentum Slows Globally. Here is the Breakdown by Country.
Voicebot has been tracking Alexa skills since 2016 and has often been the first to report on significant milestones. However, over the past three years, Alexa has expanded to many countries and some have duplicate Alexa skills made for one country initially but published in more widely. Amazon thankfully doesn’t double count those skills and provides a global number of unique Alexa skills which company senior vice president David Limp announced last week has now surpassed 100,000. However, no single country has access to all of those skills. U.S.-based Alexa users have the most skills available to them at 65,901 through the end of Q3 2019.
That is followed by the UK and India with just under 35,000 and 31,00 respectively. Canada and Australia reside in another tier with between 24,00 and 26,000 skills. Then you have Germany which is nearing 10,000 skills but still hasn’t reached that milestone three years after getting its first Amazon Echo smart speakers. Japan, Italy, and France each have between 1,500 and 3,000. These figures tell us that the breadth of Alexa skills available to users varies greatly from country-to-country.
Alexa Skills Worldwide Doubled Over 12 Months But Momentum Slows
Other notable milestones in the rapid rise of Alexa skills include 5,000 in November 2016, 10,000 in March 2017 and 50,000 in early September 2018. The 100,000 milestone announcement this past week indicates that total Alexa skills doubled over the past year. Voicebot reported in July on the rapid slowdown in new Alexa skill introductions across a number of countries. Though the rate has slowed, Alexa skill counts continue to grow globally.
During 2018, the total number of Alexa skills in the U.S. grew by 120%. Growth in the first nine months of 2019 is only 16% with 4% of that coming in the last three months. The UK has witnessed a more dramatic slowdown of 233% in all of 2018 to just 16% in the first nine months of 2019 while Germany went from 152% last year to 24% since January. Canada and Australia are showing a 2019 growth rate slightly behind their English-speaking cousins with 11% and 8% respectively.
India Shows Steady Growth in New Alexa Skill Introductions
France is a mild bright spot of Alexa developer activity with 60% skill growth since the beginning of 2019, but that translates into only two new skills per day off of a small initial base. Italy, by contrast, has had Echo smart speakers available in the country for 140 fewer days and has 86% more Alexa skills. Since launch, Italians have introduced an average of 8.6 new Alexa skills per day compared to just 3.2 in France.
India shows more promise. Amazon announced that there were 12,000 Alexa skills available to Indian users in January 2018 and Voicebot reported in March 2019 that the figure had risen to 26,639. Six months later and it has increased another 16% with developers adding an average of 20 new skills each day. That translates into 42.5 new Alexa skills per day since Amazon Echo first was made available in the country by invitation in 2017. The 20 new skills daily in 2019 is not quite as high as the 29 we currently see in the U.S. this year, but Indian Alexa skill developers are introducing new titles faster than the UK and at more than double rate of Canada and Australia. The introduction of Hindi support for Alexa last month may help the Indian figure rise further in the fourth quarter.
A Gauge of Developer Enthusiasm
None of this speaks to consumer usage of Alexa skills. Do more Alexa skills translate into more value for consumers? In theory, yes because there is more variety to choose from. From a practical perspective, we don’t know without access to daily skill usage data. New skills don’t add value if no one uses them, but a single new popular offering could increase the value for many people.
What we can conclude with more confidence is that the rate of Alexa skill introductions is one gauge of developer enthusiasm for the platform. Developer enthusiasm may still be high, but if it is, most of that effort is being applied to updating existing Alexa skills or introducing more sophisticated user experiences as opposed to launching entirely new skills.