Amazon continues to see more and more traction with its voice-enabled speaker.
A new report from Consumer Intelligence Research Partners (CIRP) estimates that there are now 8.2 million customers who own an Amazon Echo device, which first went on sale in late 2014 to Prime members and became generally available in June 2015.
That’s up 60 percent from the 5.1 million Echo users that CIRP cited in November 2016; the big increase likely resulted from a busy holiday season that saw Echo sales spike 9X from the year prior, according to Amazon. The 8.2 million number is also up nearly 3X from this time last year, CIRP said.
Amazon doesn’t publicly disclose official sales numbers for Echo or other devices, leaving third-party estimates as the best gauge of sales.
CIRP, which polled 500 U.S.-based Amazon customers for its report, also said customer awareness of the Echo has “increased dramatically” in the past year. The firm reported that awareness of the Echo among Amazon customers reached 82 percent as of last month; that’s up from 69 percent in September 2016 and up from 20 percent in March 2015. CIRP credited Amazon’s traditional media advertising and prominent placement on the company’s e-commerce site for the increased awareness.
Amazon’s Echo devices — the original Echo; the Echo Dot; and the Echo Tap — are powered by the company’s cloud-based artificial intelligence-powered Alexa voice platform, which can answer queries, control smart home devices, play games with users, set timers, and much more.
CIRP gathered data on how people are interacting with Alexa. A majority are using it as an “information provider,” which CIRP co-founder Josh Lowitz said is a sign that Amazon wants the Echo to become an internet browser.
“More Echo owners use it as an information source than as a voice-controlled music device,” Lowitz said in a statement. “Amazon positioned Echo and the Alexa software as much more than a smart audio player. Amazon clearly wants it to become an Internet browser and even a home controller. Hundreds of third-party electronics, appliance, and even auto manufacturers now offer products that work with Alexa. Amazon wants Alexa to be the starting point for the move to connected-automated homes.”