Amazon’s Echo — powered by Alexa — offers some pretty awesome features, not unlike many of the other smart speakers out there. But where it truly surpasses the likes of Google Assistant and Siri is the integrated shopping support, specifically through Amazon. At any time you can tell Alexa what you want, and she’ll order it right off Amazon — giving you a current listing of options, of course.
Buying with Alexa is definitely a thing. Except, it isn’t.
According to a new report, no one even uses the feature. Apparently, only 2 percent of speakers in the wild have even been used to make a purchase during 2018. It’s not as if there aren’t a lot of speakers being used either, because since Echo’s inception in 2014 over 50 million units have been sold. For comparison, a January report revealed that 39 million Americans now own some kind of smart speaker in their home.
No One is Buying with Alexa, But Why?
Alexa, order me a sammich.
Honestly, this information isn’t all that surprising. It aligns with previous reports about smart speakers in general. Another report from Activate doesn’t even mention shopping as one of the things people do with their smart speaker. But it’s also important to remember that report includes other devices too — not just Amazon Echo speakers. So really, no one is shopping via their smart speakers at all.
Another surprising stat is that 90 percent of the people who did use their speaker to buy something online, have not done so again.
There are, however, people looking for deals and offers with their speaker. A purported 20 percent have “engaged more broadly” by asking deal and shopping related questions.
It’s a lot of hubbub just to say that no one really uses the feature. When you think about it though, is it really all that surprising? Outside of how easy it is to just buy items online the conventional way, there’s also the point that you can’t really see what you’re ordering when you do it via a speaker. Alexa may call out what you’re ordering, and go over the details but that’s a lot different than seeing a listing with your own eyes especially on Amazon where it’s easy to make the wrong purchase.
This may soon change, of course, with the launch of Echo Show which offers a display-based interface as opposed to just an audible one.
Will more people be buying with Alexa via the Amazon Echo Show?
Unrelated, but this also makes me wonder how many people are using Amazon Dash to order items? They’re basically standalone buttons that allow you to order various products at the push of a button. Need some new paper towels? Bam. Out of fruit snacks for the kids? Boop.
Interestingly, Statista says that Tide and Cottonelle have the biggest foothold in the Dash market. That’s great, but now let’s find out how many of those people are ordering toilet paper, with their WiFi button, while taking dump?