The recent holiday was a happy one for Amazon, if the company's latest report is anything to go by. The eCommerce giant alleges that “tens of millions of Alexa-enabled devices” were sold worldwide during the 2017 holiday season, making it a breakout year for the voice-activated digital assistant.
Alexa Ruled the Holidays
The Amazon report was decidedly low on hard data but high on self-promotion. It was not surprising though, as the company won't be releasing its actual financial status from the recent holiday until January when it unveils its fourth-quarter revenue. However, it's clear from the report that Amazon did a pretty good job hawking its own devices.
The Fire TV Stick with Alexa Voice remote and the Echo Dot were bestsellers on Amazon over the holidays. The Echo Dot, however, holds the distinction of being the top seller “from any manufacturer in any category across all of Amazon.”
The former is a streaming device that allows the user to search for their favorite shows and other information using voice commands. Aside from easily finding interesting shows in the genre they want, users also enjoy the fact that the Fire TV Stick doesn't need the latest TV model in order to work.
Meanwhile, the Echo Dot is a hockey puck-shaped, voice-controlled device that uses Alexa to manage smart home gadgets, make calls play music and a host of other skills. Products like the Echo Buttons and the Echo Spot were also sold out this season. These gadgets are also part of the Echo family, with Buttons designed specifically for family games while the Spot is the perfect alarm clock that does more than tell time.
Alexa's dominance was corroborated by the fact that the software for the voice-based assistant was the most downloaded app on both the Apple App Store and on Google Play. Real-time data also indicated that people started downloading the app on Christmas, probably as soon as they unwrapped their presents and saw they got an Echo device.
Aside from the millions generated from the sales of Alexa-enabled gadgets, Amazon also had one amazing week that saw a staggering 4 million consumers signing up for Amazon Prime. According to the retailer's report, these were people who either opted for the free trials or who outright paid for full memberships.
The report also revealed interesting tidbits, like the 70% rise in worldwide use of the Amazon mobile shopping app. There were also more than a billion items ordered from the multitude of independent retailers on Amazon's Marketplace. These retailers accounted for half of the products bought on the Amazon site in recent months.
Voice Advertising on the Rise
Amazon's success with Alexa this past holiday season has given it a major advantage over Apple's Siri, Google Assistant, Microsoft's Cortana, and others in the market for smart speakers and voice-based assistants. This achievement was undoubtedly helped by Amazon revitalizing its Alexa-backed Echo devices and from third-party gadget manufacturers integrating the digital assistant into their products.
More importantly, it cemented Alexa as the de facto choice of companies as more focus is given to voice advertising. Marketers are expecting the voice trend to really be felt in 2018 as more businesses invest in the creation of voice interfaces. And with Amazon corralling 70% of the market for voice-activated smart devices, it's easy to see why Alexa would be in the forefront of this burgeoning technology.
Brands now face a unique challenge in 2018. They need to find out the distinct capabilities and benefits of various hardware while offering their users a consistent experience. Brands who also want to make a mark using voice apps would also need to develop a way for consumers to discover them, particularly as voice assistants have no visual interface. This means that new ways of browsing and searching will probably be introduced.[Featured image via YouTube]