Alexa was the 2020 leader in the voice assistant market even as voice search continues to take over browser-based searches. Let's find out the latest about Amazon's voice assistant and what factors brought about its success.  

Sales Growth and Forecast

Amazon led the smart speaker sales worldwide in the last quarter of 2020. They sold 16.5 million smart speakers, outpacing Google's 13.2 million and Baidu's 6.6 million. Alibaba and Apple came in fourth and fifth places with 6.3 million and 4.6 million units sold, respectively.  

The boom in online shopping in 2020 amid stay-at-home orders led to a 38% sales growth to $386.1 billion from 2019's $280.5 billion sales. With a Salesforce survey showing that 58% of consumers are likely to increase online shopping post-pandemic, Amazon is forecast to conquer 58% of the online retail market in 2021.  

New Features

Since its creation, Alexa expanded its role among its smart speaker and app users from a shopping assistant to a sophisticated smart home aid. Here are some of its new functions:

• CareHub

CareHub allows users to monitor the whereabouts and activities of a family member with disabilities. It also lets Alexa call you or another designated relative when the monitored person says "Alexa, call for help" during an emergency. Meanwhile, a call-captioning setting is available for communicating with hearing-impaired loved ones. The caller's speech shows up as written words on the screen in real-time.

• Guard

Alexa also becomes your listening device for suspicious activity at home by detecting out-of-the-ordinary sounds. It can pick up and record noises like the breaking of glass and fire alarms going off.  If you're away from home and want to listen in real-time after a recording bothers you, you can click the Drop-In feature.  

When you choose its subscription-based version, the Guard Plus, Alexa places a call to the fire or police department for you instead of having you contact them for help. This feature also allows your Alexa-activated speaker to blare a siren or dog-barking sound when your system detects possibly dangerous trespassers.

• Improved Hunches

Introduced in 2018, Hunches—Alexa's ability to do tasks based on your frequent requests or daily routine, such adjusting the thermostat or turning appliances on and off—can now be enabled so that the personal voice assistant won't have to get permission before acting on its "hunch."

• Live Translation

Alexa can now translate French, German, Hindi, Italian, Spanish, and Brazilian Portuguese to English. It's designed to translate two-way conversations at once. The personal assistant can show the translation on the screen as text or play it back via speaker. The Amazon product can offer much help for multilingual families this way as well as hotel and other business settings where physical visits have resumed.  

New Speakers

Amazon's new Alexa-powered products have the AZ1 Neural Edge, a machine learning processor. It reportedly works twice as fast at processing speech commands but consumes 85% less memory.  

• Echo Gen 4

This 5.7-inch spherical model produces 360-degree audio with crisp vocals and a punchy bass thanks to its 3-inch woofer and two 0.8-inch tweeters with Dolby audio tuning. It's equipped with a Zigbee hub so you can control smart home devices powered by this wireless solution.

• Echo Dot Gen 4

The newest version of Echo Dot also sports a ball shape, although only 3.9 inches in diameter, with one variant featuring LED lighting to show the time.  

• Echo Studio

Considered as Amazon's premier smart speaker, the 330-watt Studio boasts five speakers and Dolby's enhanced surround-sound Atmos technology. Like the Echo, it also comes with a Zigbee hub.

New Touch Screens

Alexa users can enjoy more interactive and visual opportunities with Amazon's fresh lineup of Echo Show devices. All models come with a home monitoring setting, enabling the displays to double as a security camera. They also have a privacy shutter that you can close to block the camera.

• Echo Show 8

The second generation 13-megapixel, eight-inch HD Show 8 has a wide-angle 110-degree field of view lens that "follows" you when you move during video calls. Its camera can pan the room and zoom while you stay at the center of the frame. It also has a fast octa-core processor that provides a smoother display when you swipe. Moreover, its adaptive color display matches the ambient light in your room. The monitor is also equipped with two 2-inch speakers.  

• Echo Show 5 and Show 5 Kids

The 5.5-inch, budget-friendly Show 5 (second generation) is equipped with a 2MP camera and has many clock-centric features. Among them are clock face options and the sunrise feature, which slowly brightens the screen 15 minutes before your set time. Like the Show 8, this model has an ambient light sensor. It's available in glacier white, charcoal, and deep-sea blue.  

The Show 5 Kids' body is the same as the Show 5 model but has a green-blue-yellow camouflage-type back wrapping. It has access to Amazon Kids+ and parental controls, including activity monitoring, video access limits, and content filtering.  

• Echo Show 10

The third generation of the 10.1-inch Show 10—first introduced in 2017—has a motorized base that you can activate to make the display swivel and follow you when you move. Meanwhile, its cylindrical base contains two one-inch tweeters below the screen and a three-inch downward-facing woofer. You can also use the Show 10 as a control hub for Zigbee devices such as Philips Hue and Innr smart lights.

How Consumers Discover Businesses via Alexa

Alexa device owners make up a large market—almost 70% of the smart speaker-owning public in the U.S.

Businesses can establish their brand presence within this segment in various ways—by setting up an Amazon seller account, creating an Alexa Skill related to their brand, or optimizing their current digital asset: their online content.  

Alexa answers queries based on results from the Bing search, letting location-based businesses gain more leads and customers from voice-ready content. This entails search engine optimization that targets the top rank in Bing’s search engine results pages for increased chances of Alexa recommending your company to related business inquiries.

Voice Command Can Make it Easy For Alexa to Find Your Business

Voice Command streamlines your business information across the Internet, and ensures you are listed on Alexa and other voice assistants.