Amazon just announced that it had sold over seven times the number of Amazon Echo and related devices during Prime Day 2017 that it did on the last such online event. At least for now, we can safely say that Amazon is untouchable in the smart speaker space. With second-placed Google Home already holding a significantly lower market share, Prime Day 2017 will have widened that gap considerably.
What’s more important is how Amazon Prime originally launched more than a decade ago as a free two-day delivery subscription service has evolved into or spawned off a number of other money spinners for Amazon.
Amazon Echo, because of Alexa’s integration with Amazon Retail, was the first layer of monetization – Layer Zero being the subscription revenue itself. This layer has been reinforced over and over again with each new Echo device released. The second layer of monetization is now beginning to rear its monstrous head – voice shopping.
We predict that, in the future, voice shopping will comprise the major portion of Amazon’s online revenues. The movement is inevitable. Why would a user sit at a desktop or open a mobile app, go to the portal, search for items and manually authenticate the payment when everything can be done by voice?
Amazon Alexa is not just an AI assistant. In fact, she’s not much of an AI assistant if you’re looking for any meaningful conversation. Alexa is purely business. Need a product? Want a specific function? Just say “Hey, Alexa.” If you want to talk, go to Google.
And that second layer of monetization is going to be even more massive than device sales, mark my words. By now, most companies have learned to fear Amazon entering a new industry. They’ve torn the retail world apart, they’ve conquered public cloud computing infrastructure, and they created a new and tremendously huge market for voice-activated devices.
Now, they’re after voice shopping. Amazon’s Echo Dot was the top seller on Prime Day 2017, but what’s more significant is that 19% (almost one in five) shoppers have used voice shopping on Echo devices over the past year. That number is going to grow, and it’s going to grow fast. Even the shoppers themselves, 33 percent of them, have said that they’ll do their shopping on an Echo or similar device sometime in the next 12 months.
The 30-hour Prime Day event earlier this week was their biggest sales day ever, generating around $1 billion in product sales. That’s after discounts averaging 40%, and it works out to about $33.3 million in sales generated EVERY HOUR.
With voice shopping no doubt contributing to a significant minority share of that revenue, I think Amazon’s Alexa has finally come of age at 15 (thousand skills.)