Amazon May Have Just Sold Over 9 Million Echo Devices

Estimating holiday sales based on what we know.

Disclaimer: When I originally wrote this post, I decided not to publish it because the number felt a bit ridiculous, and the reasoning a bit too ‘back of the envelope’ to feel credible. Could Amazon really have sold almost twice as many Echo devices over the holidays (9M+) than they had in the nearly two years since launch (5.1M as of November)? Then I stumbled across an Oppenheimer analyst who estimated nearly 10 to 12 million Amazon Echo and Google Home virtual assistants could be sold over the holidays. So I decided to share anyway, with the asterisk that this a fairly unscientific estimate.

Santa may have been a frequent visitor this Christmas, but it seems that Alexa was a close second. While Amazon doesn’t release specific figures, piecing together what sales data we do know about Echo devices can give us a good idea of how popular they were this holiday season.

How Big Was Last Year?

Last April, Consumer Intelligence Research Partners (CIRP) released a widely-cited report estimating that, at the time, Amazon had sold 3 million devices in the US since its introduction in late 2014.

That included 1 million devices being sold during the 2015 holiday season alone.

Strong Sales Throughout the Year

In November, CIRP released an updated analysis stating that 2 million Echo devices had been sold in the first 9 months of the year, bringing the total to 5.1 million Echo devices sold in the US since launch. Included in the report was also an estimate that 70 percent of Amazon customers were aware of the Echo, setting the stage for strong holiday sales.

What Amazon Said About This Year

Two days after Christmas, Amazon shared some staggering figures about this year’s sales. While they still didn’t release specific figures for Alexa devices, they did say “millions” were sold worldwide, with sales “up over 9x compared to last year’s holiday season.”

So Doing The Math Tells Us…

If the CIRP estimate of 1 million devices sold in 2015 was accurate and sales were up over 9x this year, that means that Amazon likely sold over 9 million Echo devices worldwide during this holiday season. (The service is available in the US, UK, and Germany). Combining that with November’s report, it’s also likely that there are currently over 14 million Echo devices worldwide.

Amazon likely sold over 9 million Echo devices worldwide during this holiday season.

It was widely reported that the Echo and Dot were sold out and hard to get in the last weeks leading up to Christmas. Amazon had been planning for strong sales over the holidays, so it makes sense that it would have taken a huge surge in purchases to create an inventory issue.

In fact, on Christmas Day, the Amazon Alexa app was the 4th Most Popular download in the iOS app store. There were clearly a lot under the tree.

Voice is Getting Bigger

Looking at these different estimates and metrics paints a strong picture that 2017 will be a tipping point for the mass adoption of voice user interfaces. Even if these numbers are a bit off, there is no arguing that this year was a hugely successful holiday for Alexa.

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