Amazon has a serious Alexa user retention issue

Shawn Knight

Posts: 14,237   +158
Staff member
The big picture: Amazon has done remarkably well in building, marketing and selling Alexa voice-powered hardware devices during year-end holiday seasons. Like clockwork, the e-commerce giant routinely touts that its own devices, including the Echo Dot and its Fire TV Stick with Alexa Voice Remote, are top sellers. We have no reason to doubt Amazon’s sales claims, but that’s apparently only half of the story.

According to a recent report from Bloomberg, Amazon has a dirty little secret that it has been contending with for years.

Internal documents seen by Bloomberg suggest Amazon has a serious user retention problem. Data indicates that there have been some years where 15 percent to 25 percent of new Alexa users were no longer active into their second week of usage.

There are likely several layers to Amazon’s Alexa engagement issue.

The data mentioned by Bloomberg involves holiday sales, which likely means a significant portion of new devices are being received as gifts. Maybe these users never really wanted an Echo to begin with and only hooked it as a kind gesture to the gift-giver.

Bloomberg also talks about Alexa’s usefulness as a barrier alongside privacy concerns. Some apparently only use Alexa for a handful of tasks, like setting a kitchen timer while they cook, to play music or toggle the lights on and off, oblivious to the many other functions Alexa can perform. When Amazon started having Alexa offer up suggestions more frequently, some users got annoyed.

Amazon spokesperson Kinley Pearsall dismissed this pessimistic view of Alexa. "The assertion that Alexa growth is slowing is not accurate," she said. "The fact is that Alexa continues to grow - we see increases in customer usage, and Alexa is used in more households around the world than ever before."

Image credit Anete Lusina, Andres Urena

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waclark

Posts: 439   +305
I have actually been using Alexa more in the past year. I purchased a second home and installed several smart devices like switches, lights and thermostats. This is useful because we don't live here year-round and I am able to keep tabs on the home through my many Alexa Echo devices. I even repurposed an old Amazon Fire tablet into a bedroom Echo (using Show Mode).

As the article said, I don't do a lot of sophisticated tasks using Alexa but I do use Guard mode, I get notifications when packages arrive at the local UPS store and play music on it with other external speakers.

Alexa is not perfect in everything and I occasionally have an Echo device go offline for no reason, but overall it does what I need it to do which is mainly control lights and ac/heating.
 

QuantumPhysics

Posts: 6,308   +7,247
You've just gotta love how the government, without using force, tricks us into literally loading up our homes with cameras and microphones and then either uses the information against us, or allows corporations to use the information against us.

That video with a pedo speaking to a girl through a "RING" camera should have been all the warning you needed NOT to EVER buy any of this stuff.

But ya'll just ignore it...
 

Hexic

Posts: 1,238   +1,927
TechSpot Elite
Alexa can’t hold a candle to Google Assistant, and Siri is even behind Alexa. I see very few use cases why anyone would prefer an Alexa over Google’s service - that is light years ahead of any competition.

No wonder they’re dying, they can’t keep up.
 
I laugh at the fact if someone thinks the government is watching you through Alexa. If you truly believe that you need throw your cell phone away to.
I have tried both Google and Alexa and from experience I tell you that Alexa far surprises Google.
I have an Alexa in every room of my house including two in my garage and even one in my master closet. For the most part my whole house is Wi-Fi, outdoor lights, indoor lights, garage door, thermostat, TV, xcetera.
I think the biggest problem with people not using this system right is that they are afraid they're not knowledgeable enough to set it up. Amazon has made the setup process so very easy. They have even streamlined and added videos on how to install a Amazonbasics Wi-Fi light switch.
Even though I've had the system in my house for years it seems as though I'm learning something new every week. I don't understand why everybody doesn't do it, it is not cost prohibited by any means. There's no way I would go back to the other way.
 

umbala

Posts: 647   +1,144
You've just gotta love how the government, without using force, tricks us into literally loading up our homes with cameras and microphones and then either uses the information against us, or allows corporations to use the information against us.

That video with a pedo speaking to a girl through a "RING" camera should have been all the warning you needed NOT to EVER buy any of this stuff.

But ya'll just ignore it...
Tin foil is on sale right now, in case you need a new hat. Also, this article has NOTHING to do with government, government overreach/spying, or Ring cameras. So you know, maybe pull your head out of your *** every now and then and post a RELEVANT comment on an article.
 

passwordistaco

Posts: 270   +642
Tin foil is on sale right now, in case you need a new hat. Also, this article has NOTHING to do with government, government overreach/spying, or Ring cameras. So you know, maybe pull your head out of your *** every now and then and post a RELEVANT comment on an article.
Except Ring is owned by Amazon and has Alexa integration. And perhaps you've never heard of the NSA?
 

NumberSix

Posts: 147   +200
We use ours all the time and we have for a few years now, great for radio services and music in general, controlling lights, controlling fans and up to recently controlling the lights in a vivarium.
 

SiJiL

Posts: 9   +8
"Some apparently only use Alexa for a handful of tasks, like setting a kitchen timer while they cook, to play music or toggle the lights on and off, oblivious to the many other functions Alexa can perform"

Or maybe that's just exactly what people want it for??
It's exactly what I do with it - I have some garden lights on a plug in the garage and turning them on with the Echo is the easiest way.
When I had the kitchen re-done I got speakers put in the ceiling and the Echo is connected up to them via Bluetooth, so I can just ask it to play some music.
Setting a timer on my oven is annoying (it does huge time jumps when you get past 15 minutes) but easy on the Echo.
So having an Echo in the kitchen is perfect for what I want, and I just don't need it to do anything more!
 

captaincranky

Posts: 18,797   +7,724
Some apparently only use Alexa for a handful of tasks, like setting a kitchen timer while they cook, to play music or toggle the lights on and off, oblivious to the many other functions Alexa can perform.
Or maybe that's just exactly what people want it for??
It's exactly what I do with it - I have some garden lights on a plug in the garage and turning them on with the Echo is the easiest way.
Actually, a ten dollar mechanical clock timer works just as well for grow lights

Here's a two pack for $14.99, free shipping.

You can either set it and forget it, or when dealing with day length sensitive plants, (Cattleys, poinsettia), move the settings four times a year, (about 1 1/2 hours every 3 months, give or take), according to the seasons.
 
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captaincranky

Posts: 18,797   +7,724
I have an early Amazon Tap. We use it as a portable speaker, a cooking timer, and to make fart noises.
Just think, if you didn't have that, you'd have to buy a Tesla to get your fart noises from the turn signals. Why not make farts the old fashioned, manly way, by overdosing on baked beans? If that's not progressive enough, too much "pre-biotic fiber", will likely do the trick. (Hint, I think they likely get it from beans, and then sell it to us separately).
 
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Theinsanegamer

Posts: 3,423   +5,734
Except Ring is owned by Amazon and has Alexa integration. And perhaps you've never heard of the NSA?
The NSA, the five eyes program, PRISM, oh dont forget that time amazon said ring data would be given to police, and carries extreme amounts of locational data

https://arstechnica.com/tech-policy...res-loads-of-your-personal-info-report-finds/

How quickly the sheep forget when promised "well be good" by their benevolent megacorporation. Yes, let your house get covered in tracking devices citizen, nothing would EVER go wrong.
"Some apparently only use Alexa for a handful of tasks, like setting a kitchen timer while they cook, to play music or toggle the lights on and off, oblivious to the many other functions Alexa can perform"

Or maybe that's just exactly what people want it for??
It's exactly what I do with it - I have some garden lights on a plug in the garage and turning them on with the Echo is the easiest way.
When I had the kitchen re-done I got speakers put in the ceiling and the Echo is connected up to them via Bluetooth, so I can just ask it to play some music.
Setting a timer on my oven is annoying (it does huge time jumps when you get past 15 minutes) but easy on the Echo.
So having an Echo in the kitchen is perfect for what I want, and I just don't need it to do anything more!
I have a $5 timer that I've used for nearly a decade for cooking, works great for stoves, microwaves, and more!

For speakers, I have an aux cord that can plug into my phone for audio, or it can simply get music from the radio mounted under the cupboard. No fancy tech required!

Honestly, I'll never get why people want or need voice activated gadgets to do things when cheaper, perfectly usable simple apparatuses have been available for decades.
 

defaultluser

Posts: 436   +348
I think the biggest problem with people not using this system right is that they are afraid they're not knowledgeable enough to set it up. Amazon has made the setup process so very easy. They have even streamlined and added videos on how to install a Amazonbasics Wi-Fi light switch.
Even though I've had the system in my house for years it seems as though I'm learning something new every week. I don't understand why everybody doesn't do it, it is not cost prohibited by any means. There's no way I would go back to the other way.


No, the reason I don't give it more tasks is because the Voice Recognition is already so retarded I just don't feel like give it more tasks to flub!

When you have to repeat a one-word command multiple times in a quiet room? Or when it gives you it's PROGRAMMED AUDIO RESPONSE to a more complicated command, While not actually accomplishing the commanded task?

Or, if you ever try to tell it playback a specific song that's complex to say - good luck figuring out that mis-mash of poorly pronounced song titles! Or how about telling the damn difference between the studio version of the same track, the bonus single track, or the live version?

It's nowhere near good enough to do any of this RELIABLY, and that is why retention sucks! It will never get any better!

Google has better voice recognition, but it's still decades away from being ABLE TO DIFFERENTIATE BETWEEN THE THREE DIFFERENt TRACK PROBLEM I ALREADY DISCUSSED.
 
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shark975

Posts: 83   +102
I have a huge love hate relationship with alexa. Love the couple things she does I need, hate how it doesnt understand half of what you say, the wrong one hears you like telepathy (saying set alarm to alexa 2 feet in from of you., the alexa 6 rooms over somehow hears and answers instead, utterly maddening). Hate how dumb it is IE, it cant understand any natural conversation cues or for that matter anything beyond incredibly simply, direct queries about specific topics. Hate how it tries to "upsell" all the time with "by the way". Like "alexa set alarm for 8 AM" "Ok, BY THE WAY, did you know I can play relaxing music at bedtime? Would you like me to do that now"? NO. NO. STOP ASKING STUPID UPSELL ****.

If you ever need any proof the decades old AI hype by sites like techspot is total bullshit, just try talking to an alexa lol. There is ZERO AI there. ZERO. I read that what phrases it does respond too is actually hand picked by human people, so yes their literally is zero AI there, despite it having access to endless cloud resources, so once again proving AI doesnt exist.

ALL THAT SAID it still does one thing I need it for, I can change the temperature from my bed with a Wi-fi Thermostat. It's also good for setting alarms and checking the weather. And it still amazes me I can access any radio station via streaming via alexa now. Just wish it wasn't annoying.
 

captaincranky

Posts: 18,797   +7,724
If you ever need any proof the decades old AI hype by sites like techspot is total bullshit, just try talking to an alexa lol. There is ZERO AI there. ZERO. I read that what phrases it does respond too is actually hand picked by human people, so yes their literally is zero AI there, despite it having access to endless cloud resources, so once again proving AI doesnt exist.
Funny story. I have voice remote on a Roku device There's sci-fi show on the CW called, "Pandora". So I tell the remote, "find Pandora". Predictably, it takes me to the Pandora music site.

So I thought I'd try giving it a little help. I manually navigated to the CW, and then told it to "find Pandora". And right away I found myself staring at the Pandora music site. So, I'm skipping that function forever, and enduring the extreme hardship of making a few clicks..

In fairness, it could most likely, "find the CW", but that's usually at the top of my site list anyway. Unless of course that Roku is trying to sell me a new subscription service.
 
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