The number of Amazon Alexa skills in the U.S has just surpassed 40,000, as Amazon announced that the number of global voice skills has passed 50,000 by the end of August, according to Voicebot.ai, a voice technology-focused media outlet.
While the U.S. has the largest share of voice skills, other countries also had steady growth. The number of voice skills in the U.K. has surpassed 23,400, while it has reached almost 5,200 in Germany and 1,500 in Japan.
Alexa skill counts in Japan had a 10% growth after one month, showing a healthy growth in the region.
Among the 50,000 Alexa skills in total, only 15,550 have received ratings. In other words, more than 60% of Alexa skills have no ratings. Although the ones without ratings may still be used by Echo owners, it shows just how difficult how most Alexa skills can be found and be activated.
Amazon has made the effort to make it easier for users to find new voice applications, including skill suggestions by voice queries. For instance, users can just say “Alexa, I need a ride,” and the voice assistant will suggest using skills like Uber or Lyft; when they say “Alexa, help me cook dinner,” skills like Allrecipes or Food Network may be provided.
Up to 65% of smart speaker owners use their devices to ask questions, check the weather, listen to the news and play music, according to a report in June by research firm IHS Markit.
It is possible that smart speaker owners just use the device to listening to music and asking basic questions most of the time. They don’t need or haven’t discovered how to interact with the voice assistant in other ways through various voice skills.
The concept of voice-as-interface is relatively new. Although smart speakers have ignited a new method for people to interact with their connected devices, it may still take some time to see a real breakthrough and make the voice assistant a must-have feature for many users.
Meanwhile, Amazon has been encouraging third-party developers to create new voice skills. In addition to cash rewards based on voice skill ratings and downloads, in-skill purchase and subscription business model for Alexa voice skills were also introduced in the past May.