Alexa’s skills are worth repeat visits.
With over 3,000 skills in her locker, Amazon’s Alexa is fast becoming the pinup of the voice-controlled smart device market.
A recent survey of almost 1,300 people by Experian said that the increase in skills is the main reason why people ask Alexa to do certain tasks on a regular basis. The survey was not limited to Amazon Echo owners, but was intended to give a broad consumer-centric picture of the various virtual assistants available, with Alexa as the focal point.
The most popular requests were related to playing music, but Alexa’s voice recognition skills are increasingly tested in a variety of ways. Controlling smart lights, setting timers, creating shopping lists or even reading the news are recognized Echo owner habits, with around 39% of device owners using Alexa more since purchase, Experian said.
Although some people have labelled the Amazon Echo as just a glorified speaker, music is still the most repeated task. About 34% of people said that they asked Alexa to play songs. Another 18% of people use Alexa to connect to a paid music service such as Spotify. Just under 31% of device owners control lighting with Alexa, while 50.9% of people use their Echo in the kitchen as a “hands-free device,” said Experian.
“Messaging and conversational interfaces offer the possibility of a clean and simple user experience without having to learn a new syntax,” said Experian’s Cherian Abraham, in a blog post. “It is that ease of use and the resulting utility of a conversational interface in controlling and automating mundane tasks that have manifested itself in the popularity of Amazon Echo.”
Other tasks that people have tried at least once include joke telling (60.4%), traffic reports (36.5%), spelling (17.6%) and calling an Uber (6.3%). The reason for the variety of skills that people ask Alexa to do is simple—the design of the Echo itself.
Around 82.6% of households have two or more people talking to the Echo, which explains why some skills are used more than others. On average, people have at least eight skills that they access on a regular basis, said Experian.
“While conversations with other smartphone-based assistants tend to be initiated by the phone owner, the Echo’s standalone speaker design encourages family, friends and children alike to interact with Alexa,” Experian said.
Shopping Is The Next Skill On The List
One intriguing anomaly was in the percentage of people who use Alexa to buy items through Amazon Prime. Almost every of Echo device owner (96%) use the Amazon Prime service but only 32.1% ask Alexa to purchase something as opposed to using the app or website. This percentage is expected to increase over time, especially as more people become familiar with voice-activated shopping, Experian said.
“To get a sense of what Echo owners are likely to ask Alexa to buy in the future, we asked which product categories they most often buy on Amazon Prime today via any channel,” said Experian. “Based on our research, household items and health and personal care are likely to be among the top Amazon Prime categories for future purchases using Alexa.”
The notion that household items would be at the top of a shopping list is logical.
Most people will have positioned their Echo in common areas such as the kitchen or living room. Alexa’s near-field voice recognition skills are honed enough that she can hear over a reasonable distance, but she still needs to be within range. And if you spend a lot of time in common areas, then household items like paper towels or washing-up liquid are likely to feature in your daily activities.
As you might expect from a survey of Amazon Echo owners, Alexa’s voice recognition technology scores very highly. The report said that 95% of people were very satisfied with Alexa’s ability to understand a variety of commands at varying distance. To put that into context, Experian asked 1,048 iPhone owners for their opinion of Siri … 61% of people said they were satisfied with Apple’s voice-activated assistant.
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