Amazon stated last week that the Echo Dot was the top-selling product worldwide on Amazon during the 2018 holiday season, according to the company’s earnings press release.
Overall, shoppers bought "millions more" Amazon-branded devices, such as Echo and Fire gadgets, during the most recent holiday period than they did during the 2017 season, the press release stated.
Amazon also said that the Alexa Skills Store now features more than 80,000 skills that users can access on Echo smart speakers and other Alexa-enabled devices. There are also now more than 28,000 Alexa-compatible smart home devices from more than 4,500 brands.
Amazon touting big holiday sales numbers of Echo devices has become something of an annual occurrence, and this time around it was the Echo Dot’s turn. The impact of Echo Dot sales is somewhat mitigated by Amazon CFO Brian Olsavsky 's own admission last week on the fourth quarter earnings call that the devices are not priced to be money-makers.
Rather, it’s the Alexa virtual assistant inside the Echo that serves as the basis for Amazon to create much more potential long-term value than it gets from selling the devices themselves. Alexa’s growing range of skills, its ability to control an increasing number of smart home devices and the long-term hope that Alexa could mature into an engine of commerce are all more significant than the number of Echo devices sold.
Also, while Echo sales provide some measure of how deeply embedded Alexa is becoming in the home lives of consumers, they don’t tell the whole story, as Amazon has been increasingly successful getting Alexa integrated into other devices. The Amazon press release said that there are now more than 150 different products with Alexa built-in, more than twice what existed a year ago. And several major device makers announced plans for more integrations at last month’s CES 2019 event.
Amazon’s biggest post-holiday announcement may have come weeks ago, just after the start of the year, when Amazon said shopping activity through Alexa tripled over the holidays. If voice commerce is on the rise, the upward trend could mean much more to Amazon than how many Echo devices it sells.