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Alexa, have you peaked? Leaked Amazon docs reveal rapid drop off in Echo usage

Amazon’s Echo products have passed their “growth phase” with the company expecting only moderate increases in sales of the Alexa-powered smart speakers and displays.

Internal documents spied by Bloomberg Businessweek show that large sections of the Echo owners do not use their devices on a weekly basis.

Meanwhile, the documents also reveal that Amazon has had years where upto 25% of new Alexa-powered devices were no longer active after just one week of use. That suggests these were either unwanted gifts, impulse buys, or the novelty of voice control has worn off very quickly indeed.

The engagement stats will be concerning to Amazon, which has seen a massive and often deeply-incentivised growth of devices like the Echo speaker, Echo Dot, Echo Show and a number of other spin-offs.

According to the documents only 56% of Echo Dot owners, the most affordable Echo speaker in the range, use their device on a weekly basis. The more music-focused standard Echo is used at least weekly by a healthier 66% of the user base.

However, the top performer is the “Devices with a screen” category, which encapsulates the Echo Show smart display range. They’re used at least weekly by 74% of all users, according to the internal document seen by Bloomberg. So, it’s no surprise that Amazon’s most pronounced design and form factor overhauls have been on this device.

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The internal documents reveal that users chief concerns are about the privacy of these devices, following a number of violations and errors and the knowledge that company employees are able to listen to snippets of recorded audio. Bloomberg’s reporting also reveals Amazon is concerned that many users don’t find the Alexa assistant that useful.

“The assertion that Alexa growth is slowing is not accurate,” an Amazon spokesperson said in response to the reporting. “The fact is that Alexa continues to grow—we see increases in customer usage, and Alexa is used in more households around the world than ever before.”

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