Amazon is hoping to sell as many as 10 million of its voice-activated Echo devices next year, which would make it a roughly $1 billion hardware business, according to a person with direct knowledge of the projections. (..)
That would be an increase from the 3 million units Amazon hopes to sell this year—a number that was projected before the beginning of the year, said the person, who doesn’t have access to actual sales figures. That’s up from 1 million devices Amazon is thought to have sold in the latter half of 2015, after it became widely available in the U.S. Amazon hasn’t released sales figures for the device.
Increasing the sales number threefold within a year is ambitious even when being in a market that is still in a very early stage and is going to grow for the forseeable future.
Given the new competion by Google (and maybe Apple later this year), and the fact that it is about time, it makes sense to expect Echo and Alexa going international. If those reported numbers are true they are another hint at this coming sooner rather than later.
Where could Alexa and Echo come to first? Right now, the Echo is still only available in the U.S. and only became available to Amazon customers outside Prime around in July of last year.
The obvious candidates are thus other English speaking countries like Canada, the UK and Australia.
In his interview with the Washington Post, Jeff Bezos also talked about „teams in Berlin and Seattle“ working on Echo/Alexa. So, Germany and France could be next in line. It would make a lot of sense. The service/e-commerce side of Alexa only works to Amazon’s advantage with a proper Amazon Prime infrastructure and subscriber base being available to tap into. Hence, European countries are obvious candidates for international versions of Echo and Alexa.
An internationalization is even more important than it looks at first. As I wrote in my article about the satisfaction of current Echo users, wether Amazon can pull off a successful internationalization of Alexa, next to Google’s and Apple’s already more widely internationally available voice interfaces, will be the last important point of data to assess to get a read on how strong a position Amazon will be in in a voice interface world.
Echo and Alexa are still, one and a half year after they hit market, English only. Google will be able to bring Google Home and Google assistant early on to other languages. And given Siri’s currently supported languages, Apple will most certainly also be able to offer next gen Siri in more than just English speaking countries as well soon after it will be available in English.
So, the signal to look for is when exactly the first non-English version of Echo and Alexa is going to be announced. The earlier this gets released the more bullish the case for Amazon Alexa becomes, and vice versa.
- Study Shows Why Amazon Alexa is Well Positioned Against Apple and Google
- The Alexa Tax
- Why Jeff Bezos now says That Alexa may be the 4th Pillar After AWS, Prime and Marketplace
- Why Amazon Echo and Alexa Don’t Need to Fear Google Home and an Apple Siri SDK
- Post-PC Online Retail: Why and How Amazon is Building the Alexa Voice Platform
- 3 Million Echoes: Why Amazon’s Alexa Voice Platform Is Here To Stay
- How Amazon built the Echo