Amazon Teaches Alexa Portuguese Ahead of Brazilian Launch
Amazon will bring the Alexa voice assistant to Brazil next week and will start selling Echo smart speakers and smart displays in November. As part of the expansion, Alexa can now communicate in Brazilian Portuguese.
Amazon in the Amazon
Alexa is arriving in Brazil only one month after the tech and e-commerce giant expanded the Amazon Prime subscription service to the country. According to Amazon, Alexa will not only speak the language, but will debut with several skills specific to Brazil, on both the Amazon devices and a range of products produced by other companies like Bose, LG, Sony, and Yamaha. Amazon is offering discounts on the Echo Dot and Echo Show 5 devices that will start shipping in Brazil in early October. Amazon Echo smart speakers will arrive in November.
Brazil is Latin America’s largest economy, but Amazon has never had the dominance there that it has built up in the U.S. According to research by Disfold, Amazon Brazil is number three on the list of top e-commerce sites in Brazil for 2019. At 51.5 million monthly visits, Amazon is only slightly beating Magazine Luiza’s 49.3 million visitors, and well behind the 119 million department store Lojas Americanas’ e-commerce visitors and the 331 million to Mercado Livre. That may be changing already thanks to Amazon Prime’s offer of two-day shipping and streaming services. Right after the Brazil launch of Amazon Prime, Reuters reported significant dips in the stock price of some of Amazon’s retail competitors.
Amazon first announced its plans to bring Alexa to Brazil back in April, when it put out a call to developers letting them know about the Brazilian Portuguese Alexa Skills Kit and that any skills they made and had certified in time would be available for Alexa when it arrived in Brazil. The Brazilian language version of Alexa was built by a team from Brazil specifically to give it the local character that Amazon likely hopes will encourage people to buy and use devices with the voice assistant inside.
Brazil is an ideal market for voice assistants, according to some research. A report by PWC last year found that while Brazilians didn’t own the most AI devices, but Brazil had more people who planned to get one than any other nation. That said, the market is far from untouched. Google Assistant added Brazilian Portuguese to its language options almost a year ago.
That’s almost the same time it took Alexa to catch up to Google Assistant when it came to adding Hindi. Amazon only added Hindi and Hinglish to Alexa’s options last month, while Google Assistant could understand Hindi a year ago and expanded to a half-dozen other Indic languages early in 2019.
It’s important to remember that Alexa is only a part of Amazon’s larger goals in Brazil. Launching Alexa in tandem with an expansion in Amazon’s e-commerce products and services is the same play Amazon ran in India, Australia, and other countries, with some variation. The combo of Alexa and Amazon Prime may prove a potent method for Amazon to scoop up more of the market share in Brazil.