Amazon and Google devices have significant implications for marketers.
There are now 8.2 million US homes with Amazon Echo/Alexa devices according to one estimateand England is catching up on these. And voice analytics company VoiceLabs says that Google has sold somewhere between 400,000 and 500,000 of its Google Home devices since launch.
Echo and Home thus make a market approaching nine million “voice-first devices,” according to these two estimates. That doesn’t count in-car or smartphone-based virtual assistants.
Yesterday VoiceLabs released a report discussing what it calls the “voice-first ecosystem.” The company estimates that 24.5 million voice-first devices will ship this year, which will mean more than 30 million total voice-powered intelligent assistants in US homes by the end of the year. While that remains to be seen, there is clearly a market here, and a growing number of developers are trying to get in front of it.
There are already more than 7,000 Alexa skills (voice apps), according to Amazon itself. There are problems, however, of quality and discovery. In addition, according to the VoiceLabs report, there’s a significant user retention problem, which is much more acute than with smartphone apps.