Amazon.com Inc. will slash the prices of its voice-activated digital assistant devices for Prime Day and offer consumers who already own one special discounts if they are willing to conduct a transaction by talking to it.
The move is certain to push more consumers to acquire the devices, which will further entrench Amazon, No. 1 in the Internet Retailer Top 1000, as the market leader for such voice-activated devices. As of Q1, Amazon’s collection of Echo devices accounted for 70% of the market share for such devices, according to Adobe Digital Insights. This was up from 61% share in the fourth quarter of 2016, likely as a result of similar heavy promotions during the holiday sales period.
Alphabet Inc.’s Google Home voice-activated assistant commands the remaining market share. That device was introduced in the United States in November. Coinciding with Prime Day, Google Home is being sold for $99 from July 9 to July 15, or $30 off its regular price, on the Google Store and through authorized resellers. (Amazon does not sell Google Home devices.)
Amazon doesn’t say how many Echo devices it has sold, but a report from Consumer Intelligence Research Partners estimates 10.7 million devices had been sold as of May, up from 5.1 million in November.
Amazon’s Echo will cost $89.99 starting tonight, half its regular $179.99 price. On Prime Day 2016, Amazon knocked $50 off the regular price. Amazon later said the sales of Echo on Prime Day 2016 were 2.5 times greater than the next-best selling day for the device.
The Echo Dot—the one that looks like a hockey puck—will be $34.99 starting tonight, $5 less than the price offered during the holiday season. The regular price is $49.99. The Echo Dot, which retailed at $89.99 a year ago shortly after its introduction, was not on promotion during Prime Day 2016. The $229.99 Echo Show, which includes a screen and began shipping about two weeks ago, is being offered at a savings of $75 if the consumer also purchases a Netgear Inc. security camera that can be used in concert with it.
Internet Retailer estimates $1.56 billion worth of goods will be sold in the United States on Amazon during Prime Day this year, up from $1.30 billion a year ago. Globally, sales are projected to hit $2.18 billion, according to Internet Retailer research.
Amazon is enticing consumers who already own an Echo or other Amazon Alexa-powered device, such as Fire TV and Fire tablets, access and deals not available to consumers shopping via computer or smartphone. This includes extending the Prime Day shopping window from one day to more than two weeks. Some Prime Day deals have been available to Alexa device owners since last week, and consumers who ordered by voice for the first time during this period received a $10 credit redeemable on Prime Day.
A survey fielded last week by customer service technology firm LivePerson Inc. among owners of Alexa devices found that 70% of owners had placed an order via voice with Alexa, and 45.8% were repeat voice shoppers. However, not all device owners feel confident ordering with Alexa. Of those who’ve ordered this way, 77% say they’ve gone to Amazon.com or the Amazon app to double-check the right items were ordered.
On Monday night, owners can start shopping some Prime Day offers two hours before non-device owners. Some Prime Day offers will be available to device owners interacting via voice through July 17. For non-device owners, the deals end July 11.
In the more than a dozen U.S. metropolitan areas where Amazon Fresh, the e-retailer’s grocery service, is available, device owners willing to shop the service via voice are eligible for a 90-day free trial of the service—the monthly surcharge for Amazon Fresh is normally $14.99 following a 30-day free trial. According to the LivePerson survey, grocery items are the third most popular category to order from via Alexa.
On Prime Day a year ago, Amazon said it received one voice-based order per second via Alexa.
Echo devices are just one Amazon product the company will use the attention of Prime Day to promote to Prime members. The e-retailer will also use Prime Day to highlight the products it has developed in the apparel and food segments, two high-growth areas the company has said is focusing on.
In apparel, Amazon says it will offer 40-50% off “Prime Exclusive” apparel. Prime Exclusive apparel would include products from the more than a dozen private label apparel brands the company has launched in the last two years and sells only to Prime members. Amazon will also offer deal pricing on some of its private-label grocery products.