Amazon keeps touting that there are over 25,000 Alexa skills. That is certainly true on a global basis. It is a great metric which speaks to Alexa’s growing developer community. However, for users, what is most important is how many are available in their geography. Also, the count in a particularly geography is a better gauge of growth since it is hard to determine how many skills globally are simply duplicates. Voicebot has been tracking Alexa skill counts in several markets for the past year and the count in the U.S. as of December 1st was 24,385.
300% Annual Alexa Skill Growth
It is hard not to say that 2017 was the year of Alexa. Voicebot has reported extensively on the sales of Alexa-enabled devices, partnerships and new features. The 300% growth in Alexa skills since December 1, 2016 is another good gauge. That growth rate has decelerated in both relative and total metrics. In the September, October and November periods Alexa skill growth was 8.0%, 6.6% and 5.5% respectively. During those same months total new Alexa skills added were 1601, 1437 and 1266.
The 1266 figure is still about 20% more new monthly Alexa skills than Amazon was averaging earlier in 2017. The deceleration is worth noting, but the monthly growth sill rivals Google Assistant’s total app count and 300% growth in Alexa skills over the past year illustrates that developers are motivated to support the platform.
Flash Briefings Grow at a Slower Rate
The other interesting development in the U.S. is that Flash Briefing skills have grown at a slower rate than custom Alexa skills. Flash Briefings are simple feeds of content using RSS or JSON. They have limited functionality, but are simple to build so were very popular among early Alexa skill developers. Flash briefings comprised 26% of all Alexa skills in March 2017 but have steadily declined since then. As of December 1st, only 16% of Alexa skills are flash briefings. Custom Alexa skill counts are growing much faster. The slowdown in Flash Briefing skills is a big contributing factor to the slowdown in the overall Alexa skill growth rate over the past quarter. Since March, the total number of Flash Briefings has risen only 46% while the custom Alexa skill count has risen 177%.
However, the 3803 Flash Briefings still represent a far higher voice app count that Microsoft Cortana skills or Google Assistant apps. That is a benefit of being first to a category and providing an easy onramp for content producers to join your platform.