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Reuters/Elijah Nouvelage
Always listening.

Almost no Alexa owners have bought anything with their voice

Dave Gershgorn
By Dave Gershgorn

Artificial intelligence reporter

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Alexa might not be the sales robot that Amazon believed it could be.

A report today (Aug. 6) from The Information claims the company has sold about 50 million Alexa smart speakers, which first went on sale in 2014. However, only 2% of Alexa speakers have been used to make a purchase from Amazon in 2018, The Information reported. And beyond that, 90% of the people who try to make a purchase through Alexa don’t try again. An Amazon spokesperson told Quartz they disagreed with the numbers, but did not provide any other figures.

That’s not incredibly surprising. A recent report by the consultancy firm Activate surveyed smart-speaker owners, a category which Amazon dominates, and shopping wasn’t even on the list of things users say they do with their devices. However, 38% of users check the weather.

But Echo devices still appear to be a strong signifier of Amazon’s most frequent customers. A 2017 survey found that US Alexa owners spend $1,700 per year shopping on Amazon, whereas Prime subscription members typically spend $1,300 per year. For non-Prime US Amazon customers, that number is about $1,000.

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