These Three New Alexa Products from the September 2019 Launch Appear to be Hits with Consumers
Amazon hosted its third-annual Alexa product launch event in September 2019 and highlighted 16 new products and updates of earlier models. These products ranged from new earbuds (Echo Buds) and a high-end smart speaker to experimental offerings such as the Alexa-enabled ring and glasses. Amazon executives have said that they don’t expect every new product to succeed, but are willing to put many out there to see what resonates with consumers.
In 2018, Amazon announced 14 new products and updates and the clear standouts were the Alexa Smart Plug, the Amazons Basics Microwave with Alexa, and the Echo Auto. Daniel Rausch, vice president of smart home for Alexa, told Voicebot earlier this year in an interview that Amazon has “sold millions of Smart Plugs,” and the Amazon Basics Microwave with Alexa became the number one seller in its category despite some of the media ridicule that accompanied the product launch. Echo Auto gets a nod because Amazon received over one million order requests for the device while it was in limited release. These are clear examples of market demand pointing to successful product concepts.
Top Alexa Products of the 2019 Launch Event
Information on Amazon.com also offers us some indication about what the hits of the 2019 product launch are so far. Amazon Smart Oven with Alexa (with a caveat) and the Echo Dot with Clock are out-of-stock in the U.S. until February 5th and 24th respectively. These items have both been on backorder for weeks now and selling through your inventory is typically an indicator of stronger than expected consumer demand. Interestingly, searches on Amazon.com for the Smart Oven brings up other products still in stock first while searches for the Echo Dot with Clock generally direct consumers to the standard Echo Dot product pages.
Here is the caveat. The Amazon Smart Oven may be outselling its forecast given the attractive price point relative to the Tovala, Breville, and June Ovens, but has a materially lower customer star-rating than its competitors. Tovala is slightly ahead with a 3.8-star average compared to 3.5 stars for the Amazon Smart Oven. Breville has four offerings in the category with ratings ranging from 4.3 – 4.5 stars. June Oven has a 4.9-star rating with 87% of consumers giving the product the coveted 5-star rating.
Amazon’s Rausch pointed out to Voicebot the success of the Amazon Basics Microwave can be clearly seen in 4-star rating with 60% or more reviewers giving a 5-star rating. For the Alexa Smart Plug, those figures are a 4.5-star rating average with more than 80% giving a 5-star rating. At 3.5 stars and only 40% of reviewers offering a 5-star rating, the long-term prospects for the Amazon Smart Oven may not be strong. There is demand for the product at the current price point, but it is not clear whether consumers will overlook its reported deficiencies.
The Echo Dot with Clock has no such problems so far but that data may be obscured. The more than 116,000 ratings referenced for the Echo Dot with Clock all seem to reference the standard Echo Dot. If there are fans or detractors of the model with the digital clock, they are not easy to find in the reviews. Granted, the core product has a 4.6-star average rating with more than 80% of reviewers giving it 5 stars. So, it is unlikely that simply adding a digital LED clock will undermine that. Echo Dot with Clock is a clear winner in the market. It is also out of stock in Canada.
Honorable Mention – Amazon Echo Studio
Amazon Echo Studio, the new premium smart speaker in the Echo product line, is also on backorder to January 7th. That indicates consumer interest outpacing Amazon’s own forecast. However, the better news for Amazon is the 4.3-star average rating and 68% of reviewers offering a 5-star rating for the Studio. There are plenty of detractors among the reviews but many of those appear to be based on integration challenges with home theater systems which Amazon is likely to fix over time. Just wait until there is an Echo Studio with Clock. That is bound to be a big hit. Just kidding.
Features Plus Price Point Winning Combination
What we can conclude from this is that Amazon is seeing product traction where there is a feature-plus-price point combination that is attractive. Echo Dot with Clock is not the least expensive smart speaker but is a relatively low price option and consumers are showing a willingness to pay a premium so they can see as well as hear information from the simple device. Echo Studio offers superior sound quality to other Echo devices and compares favorably to premium speakers that cost more. The Amazon Smart Oven may not be nailing the consumer experience yet, but the 4-in-1 smart oven with Alexa at just $250 is generating consumer interest. The Dot with Clock and Studio look like they will be long-term winners for Amazon and the Smart Oven has a good chance if it can get the consumer ratings up.