Indians said “I love you” to Amazon’s Alexa 19,000 times a day in 2020 and got an equal number of bedtime story requests. Indians even proposed Alexa 6,000 times a day.
“Many customers found a companion in Alexa last year,” Puneesh Kumar, Country Leader for Alexa, told Zenger News.
“We are pleasantly surprised with the growing adoption of Alexa by users across age groups — and humbled to be part of this voice revolution in India,” he said.
The voice assistant of the U.S. e-commerce giant has been an instant hit since its inception in the Indian market in 2018. As it celebrates its third anniversary, the company has witnessed a double-fold increase in its customers from non-metro cities. The company said there was a 67 percent jump in interactions in 2020.
Amazon recently said it would set up its manufacturing unit in Chennai under the government of India’s ‘Make in India’ program. The unit will make hundreds of thousands of Fire TV Sticks.
When asked if Echo smart speakers (which first started using Alexa) could also be produced there, an Amazon spokesperson told Zenger News they didn’t “have anything more to share about other devices.”
Apart from regular requests of playing favorite Bollywood numbers 1.7 million times a day, there were over 860,000 commanding instructions of controlling smart home gadgets in 2020.
“There was a significant increase in Alexa interactions last year, especially for guided meditation, workout music, games and learning skills, and content such as mythology, devotional music, and stories,” said Kumar.
“When we first launched Alexa and Echo Smart speakers in India as invite-only in October 2017, voice-controlled smart speakers were a completely new category. Today, hundreds of thousands of customers across the country have purchased Echo devices.”
“Who has scored the most run” and “why we celebrate Diwali” were some of the 86,000 factual questions that were asked. The voice assistant answered more than 86,000 factual questions every day.
“I have two young daughters aged five and nine, and they are hooked to Alexa,” Archana Mane, an entrepreneur and a homemaker from Mumbai, told Zenger News.
“Their requests are hilarious at times. On occasions, they speak too quickly for Alexa to grasp, so they slow down to make her understand. It is educative at times,” she said.
Her husband Rajeev works on an oil rig and is often away for months. Through Alexa, they keep in touch regularly. “It has been a great addition to our family,” she said.
The company said in three years Alexa now spread in over 85 percent of pin codes in India.
“Hundreds of millions of customers need not know how to read and write in English to embrace tech – they can do so just with their voice,” Kumar said.
“This has also created infinite opportunities for small and large businesses, start-ups, and entrepreneurs to be part of this voice revolution. Alexa’s brain is in the cloud, and she is constantly learning and getting smarter every day,” said Kumar.
“That Amazon was able to create a distinctive character for Alexa through its voice modulation and localization is truly appreciable,” said Aditya Kshirsagar, product marketing expert, Aditya Mitra Mandal.
“For non-english speakers, you have localized your product, which for me has been one of the success stories,” Kshirsagar said.
He believed that over-reliance on a voice assistant is also not a good thing. “There are many kids in my family. One of the first words of my cousin’s kid was not mumma or papa [mom or dad] it was Google. I found it very creepy but that is the reality is at the moment,” he said.
(Edited by Gaurab Dasgupta and Amrita Das. Map by Urvashi Makwana.)
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