Amazon launched its Echo devices and the Alexa skill store in India on October 31 of last year with over 11,000 Alexa skills readily available to Indian Alexa users. Today, the company announced that that number has grown to over 12,000:
“In less than 60 days of the Alexa India skill store going live, Amazon has added more than 1,000 new skills to the store…These new skills bring the total number of skills available to Indian customers to more than 12,000.”
Amazon also claims the new skills published span more than 20 categories including Music & Audio, Interactive Games, Education, Health, Business and Lifestyle listing popular skills in each category.
Alexa’s Rapid Growth In India
Alexa users in India now have access to the most Alexa skills besides those in the United States. The total number is also almost more than those available in the UK and Germany when combined. Voicebot reported in October that one reason for the large amount of skills available upon Alexa’s Indian launch was that Amazon had automatically published a large amount of US skills to its Indian skill store as well as launching an Alexa Skills Kit for India allowing developers to create custom skills just for Indian Alexa users. Since then, Amazon has aggressively moved to increase its Alexa skills set in India by introducing Alexa in Hinglish and courting voice app developers:
“To accelerate the expansion of the Alexa India skill set, the Alexa team hosted an interactive design workshop ‘Alexa Dev Days’ in Delhi and Bangalore. These events had the largest ever attendance across all the ‘Alexa Dev Days’ held worldwide by Amazon, showing that developers in India are excited to be a part of the future of voice. In the last two months, the team has also organized webinars and community meetups to educate and engage with the Indian developer community. Alongside these outreach programs, Alexa team runs a monthly developer incentive program where developers who publish a new skill receive perks including an Echo Dot and AWS credits.”
Amazon’s Strategy in India
A 9% increase in the total number of Alexa skills is nothing new to Amazon when you look at the past growth of the Alexa skill store in the United States. This is also on par with growth rates of Germany and the UK’s Alexa skill store. But what makes it significant is the sheer volume. 1,000 new skills in 60 days (Amazon’s claim) is impressive especially in a new market. It took months before even the US skills store saw that kind of growth. It is clear that Amazon is making Alexa’s growth in India a priority. But it’s not about Alexa. It’s about Amazon’s e-commerce position in India, which is second to Flipkart, as Voicebot’s Bret Kinsella pointed out last fall:
“The introduction of Amazon Echo into India could help solidify Amazon’s competitive position and drive new growth closing that gap further. In the U.S., CIRP found that Prime members increased their Amazon spending by 10% after purchasing an Echo.”
With Hinglish support and a large set of Alexa skills to choose from, Amazon hopes that Indian users will rapidly adopt the Amazon Echo and Alexa. And rapidly adopt Amazon as their e-commerce store of choice along with it.