clock menu more-arrow no yes mobile

Amazon’s 2017 Prime Day could mark an Echo and Alexa tipping point

7x Echos sold this year is a big deal.

The black Amazon Echo speaker on a shelf
The Amazon Echo
Jason Del Rey has been a business journalist for 15 years and has covered Amazon, Walmart, and the e-commerce industry for the last decade. He was a senior correspondent at Vox.

Going into this week’s Amazon Prime Day, the company’s Echo family of gadgets was already forecast to control 70 percent of the voice-controlled-speaker market for the year.

And with Amazon announcing on Wednesday that it sold 7x the number of Echos this Prime Day as last, we may end up looking back at this year’s Amazon-created shopping holiday as the moment that Echo put its competition in the rear-view for the foreseeable future.

By now, it’s a tech-industry inside joke that Amazon often gives growth numbers without providing a base number. As a result, I typically ignore them.

But with the lead Amazon has already in voice and the great prices it was offering — $35 for the Echo Dot, and traditional Echos marked down 50 percent to $90 — I’m betting that the amount of devices sold this time around was a needle-mover.

The Echo Dot was the No. 1 seller across all of Amazon on Prime Day — Amazon’s No. 1 day ever — but the $90 price of the traditional Echo was also crucial because Google dropped the price of its rival product, the Google Home, to $99 this week.

And even if Amazon only broke even on these sales — a source says $90 is around the goal for production costs that Amazon had targeted with the original Echo — you could make an argument that it’s worth it in the long run, as the company layers more revenue-generating features on top of Alexa.

Now for the hard part: Helping customers find good use cases for the devices, and getting them to come back again to use the voice apps they initially try. Amazon has started to quietly rolling out free, in-home Alexa consultations that are designed to help with this.

This article originally appeared on