Amazon has been touting 25,000 Alexa skills for a couple of months now. That is accurate on a global basis. However, some skills are only available in particular markets. For example German-language skills are not available to U.S. and UK users with Alexa set to English. No user actually had access to all of those skills. That changed today. Amazon Alexa skills now top 25,000 for the first time in U.S. Alexa skill store.
Rate of Alexa Skill Growth Slows
The Cumulus announcement of 300 new Alexa skills likely helped Amazon surpass the 25,000 mark this week. That is a significant commitment by a media brand to the platform. With that said, the new data provides more evidence that Alexa skill count growth is slowing. Voicebot tracking data show that it took 124 days to rise from 5k-10k skills, 103 days to go from 10k-15k and then only 63 days from 15k-20k. The rise from 20k-25k went back up to 103 days. Skill growth was accelerating nicely between November 2016 and September 2017, but has slowed over the past three months.
Finding New Segments for Skill Growth
Cumulus and radio in general has been a good segment for Amazon in driving new skill growth over the past several months. Local businesses, brand and business applications could be good opportunities to accelerate growth again in Alexa’s next phase. These segments are largely untapped today. The recent announcement of Alexa for Business should open that segment for increased activity over the next two quarters.
Does total skill count matter? Yes. There are many discussions about skill usage rates, retention and the proliferation of low quality skills. Voicebot has written about how 62% of Alexa skills have no ratings and presumably few users. However, Alexa skills represent a vast new content portfolio for Amazon and Alexa users. More skills mean more content and over time expand the value of the Alexa platform for both Amazon and its users.
The Alexa skill growth slowdown is likely just a blip on the chart. The recent introduction of monetization options will likely drive more investment in gaming and digital content and the growth in users during the 2017 holiday season will draw in more companies looking to reach consumers through Alexa. However, it also provides an opening for Google to close the gap in voice app content. Google Assistant apps still trail Alexa skills by a wide margin, but Voicbot research shows growth on Google’s platform is starting to accelerate.