Amazon Now Claims Hundreds of Millions of Alexa-Enabled Devices and Hundreds of Millions of Weekly Smart Home Interactions
Amazon again has a large presence at CES in Las Vegas for 2020 and this morning revealed “there are now hundreds of millions of Alexa-enabled devices out there,” following a holiday season that saw consumers purchase “tens of millions of Amazon devices.” The language in the latter quote also includes Amazon devices without Alexa, but the “hundreds of millions” reflects devices with Alexa embedded.
Doubling Alexa’s Presence Over the Past Year
This announcement is significant for multiple reasons. First, just prior to CES 2019, Amazon senior vice president David Limp revealed that Alexa was available on 100 million devices in an interview with The Verge’s Dieter Bohn. The headline of that article included the question, “What’s next?” It appears that doubling the number of Alexa-enabled devices was part of the plan.
Voicebot pointed out at the time that the 100 million figure was undercounting Alexa’s reach because it didn’t include the tens of millions of mobile apps on iOS and Android devices that have Alexa capabilities. Google would surely include every smartphone that has Google Assistant on board, even Apple devices.
Catching Up in One Area and Pulling Ahead in Another
Within a week of Limp’s 100 million remarks, Google had its own announcement. By the end of January 2019, an announcement said that Google would have one billion devices with Google Assistant access. Ten times more than your big voice assistant rival is a noteworthy data point to release. But, Bohn had already noted in his coverage in The Verge:
“On the one hand, 100 million pales in comparison to the number of phones that have either Siri or Google Assistant pre-installed. On the other hand, the word ‘pre-installed’ is the key thing to pay attention to. With Alexa devices, you could argue, consumers are making an active choice to purchase an assistant instead of just getting a default.”
Google certainly gets credit for having Assistant distribution on Android devices worldwide. It is impressive reach and that is one of the key assets that Google brought to the voice assistant wars. We may even see a higher number released this week by Google. However, while Amazon trails Google and Apple on voice assistant distribution on devices overall, the company appears to be leading both rivals in new devices with voice assistants today.
We saw some convincing data in this regard from Canalys in late 2019. According to the research firm, Amazon sold three times as many smart speakers globally as Google in Q3 2019. That followed higher sales in Q2 as well. Some of those sales went to existing Amazon smart speaker owners, but it also included new sales even in the U.S. where Voicebot data showed Alexa’s market share climbed between January and September 2019 after two years of erosion.
Voice Assistants Driving New Device Sales and Use
The bottom line is that Amazon is seeing continued growth related to Alexa-enabled devices in its own portfolio and those produced by partners. Another data point offered by Amazon also suggests that usage is growing as well. An announcement this morning says that:
“Alexa smart home engagement has nearly doubled year over year, and customers are now using Alexa for smart home controls hundreds of millions of times each week.”
While there is talk of a voice AI winter. Data coming out this month suggests voice assistants continue to expand quickly both in consumer ownership of dedicated devices and usage. You should expect that to continue as Amazon has a few other announcements this morning that Voicebot will also be covering in subsequent articles.