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How people are using the Amazon Echo: New study reveals surprising patterns


Amazon’s Echo product line has been called the “accidental winner” of the smart-home speaker market, but it’s more accurate to say it’s the accidental early leader. Google’s rival, Google Home, will be released early next month, and the broader competition is just getting started.

The capabilities of the Echo are continually expanding thanks to a growing number of third-party Alexa skills. But how do people actually use their Echo devices? Numbers from Experian and Creative Strategies, published this week by Statista, reveal some interesting patterns.

Yes, that’s right, the top feature tried by Echo users is the very simple act of setting a timer, with nearly 85 percent of survey respondents doing that at least once. But only a quarter of respondents repeatedly used the timer feature.

In terms of consistent usage, the top feature is playing a song, according to the study. That’s especially notable in light of reports that Amazon is planning to release a discounted ($5/month) music service in the coming weeks for Echo users.

Another interesting point: 66 percent of Echo users in the study had asked the device to read the news, but only 17 percent did so repeatedly. In terms of repeated usage, controlling smart lights came in second to playing a song, at 31 percent.

Finally, the numbers show that Amazon still has some work to do if it wants the Echo to fuel its broader e-commerce business. More than 45 percent of respondents used the Echo to add an item to a shopping list, but just 10 percent used that feature repeatedly.

Related: Third-party Amazon Alexa-enabled devices get key ‘wake word’ capability thanks to Seattle startup

More from GeekWire:

-Amazon recruiting heavily for Echo and Alexa engineers, hosts big invite-only event to find talent

-Echo Dot review: Hands-on with Amazon’s smart, squat, almost-too-independent Alexa sibling

-Amazon Tap review: Say hello to my little friend — and new travel buddy

-Google reportedly working on Amazon Echo competitor amid slowdown in Nest division

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