A review of the Alexa skills store confirms that there are now over 20,000 Amazon Alexa skills in the U.S. Amazon reported on Wednesday that there were more than 20,000 Alexa skills as part of its announcement with Microsoft about integration with Cortana. However, the actual count on that morning was 19,632 in the U.S. store. The difference is that there are some skills in Germany and the UK that are not available elsewhere making the total count higher than 20,000 when you consider skills in all countries. The total count today is 20,015.
At the end of July 2017, there were 17,650 Alexa skills available to U.S. users while the UK offered 6,947 and there were only 1,806 supported in the German language. At the close of August 2017, there were 19,863 Alexa skills in the U.S. and over 7,500 in the UK. Many of the skills in the UK and Germany are duplicates of skills originally launched in the U.S. Alexa can actually do many more things beyond these skill counts which represent voice applications built by third parties. Amazon augments these independently developed Alexa skills with a variety of native skills such as setting timers, telling jokes and answering general knowledge questions.
The March to 20,000 Amazon Alexa Skills
There are some interesting trends embedded in Amazon’s march to 20,000 Alexa skills. It was almost exactly two years to the month for Amazon to accumulate 20K skill count. Amazon highlighted the first 3 independently developed Alexa skills in a blog post in August 2015. These included the skills Crystal Ball, Math Puzzles and StubHub. The next month there were 14 and then 130 four months later.
It took about 289 days to reach 1,000 Alexa skills and only 293 to rise again to 10,000. That was a nice acceleration in skill growth. About 1,000 new skills were being added each month starting in August 2016. However, the monthly growth accelerated again more recently as Amazon added over 8,000 new Alexa skills in just June, July and August of 2017. The first 10,000 skills were published over about 582 days. The second 10,000 arrived after only 163 days, less than one-third of the time.
Why 20,000 Amazon Alexa Skills Matters
There is plenty of talk about the abundance of “low-quality” skills for Alexa. That may be true, but people that say this typically have no data to back up their assertions. And, often they really mean “low usage” skills. There are a number of skills that developers built for local or niche interests or to just prove that they could get something launched. By definition, these skills will have low usage, but they may well have utility for some Alexa users.
What we do know is that there are easily over 1,000 Alexa skills with five star ratings and some that have tens of thousands of monthly active users. In addition, consumers are buying a lot of Amazon Echo devices and about 4 in 10 have more than one. Alexa devices are popular and skills are a big part of that consumer enthusiasm. The seemingly endless set of voice applications to explore is one of the factors driving Echo and Echo Dot purchases. Amazon has built an impressive third-party developer ecosystem in just two years. That ecosystem is consistently adding to the value of the Alexa platform for end users. It looks like the Alexa skill count will only accelerate further from here.