The popularity of voice interfaces continues to grow among consumers. One reason for this is accessibility. Voice interfaces provide a natural platform for humans to interact with computers; even children can quickly learn how to interact with voice-enabled devices.
My last article for VentureBeat, which looked at user behavior around Alexa devices, concluded that consumers are overwhelmingly happy with the devices and can already see them changing their behaviors. At the same time, we continue to see an increase in the number of brands entering the Skills marketplace, spanning a variety of use cases such as entertainment, CPG, retail, automotive, pharmaceuticals, and much more.
Given the increased interest brands have expressed for developing Alexa Skills, my team decided to take a look at the numbers to find get a feel for the current landscape of the Alexa Skill marketplace. Here’s what we found.

Alexa, how does my Skill rank?

We took a look at the current ratings of Skills to gather insight into how consumers are reviewing them. We found that many consumers are bypassing the review process completely, and those who do choose to review, leave little room for the gray area between love and hate.
Our research concluded that nearly 60 percent of skills do not have any ratings, and roughly 17 percent have only one review. If you look at the rating distribution, there are two big spikes at one-star and five-star reviews, which are primarily due to only one rating. Nearly 75 percent of the one-star reviews are from one rating, and 65 percent of the five-star reviews are from one rating.

When we removed the Skills with only one review, we started to see a pattern emerge.

However, it turns out 95 percent of Skills have nine or fewer reviews. When we removed those and focused on the top 5 percent, we started to see an interesting distribution with one peak around three stars and another in the higher fours.

Alexa, what categories are popular?

We also looked at the number of Skills and average ratings by category.
Based on the number of Skills available, Games continue to lead with over 7,600 Skills on the platform. Education, News, and Music categories are next with about 4,300-4,500 Skills each.
Our data showed that not all of those Skills have ratings, though. In fact, only 39 percent of Games Skills have ratings, whereas about 36 percent of Education, 31 percent of News, and 39 percent of Music Skills have ratings.

In terms of ratings, Music continues to lead all other categories, with an average rating of 4.2 stars. The Games category averaged about 3.6 stars. At the lower end, Food & Drink averaged about 3 stars, and Utilities 2.8 stars.

Alexa, what about recommended Skills?

Alexa has a few more categories for finding new Skills, including “Staff Picks” and the “Latest Skills.”
The average star ratings for these recommendations are pretty interesting. For the most part, they tend to be higher, although there are some that are relatively average, like the recommended Smart Home Skills at 3.2 stars. The Staff Picks tend to have higher ratings, with an average of 4.2 stars.

Alexa, what are the most-rated Skills?

In regards to the most-rated Skills, ambient sound Skills from a variety of companies continue to be some of the Skills with the most ratings, as well as highest-rated skills. Kasa from TP-Link continues to be a Skill with a high number of ratings, but the actual ratings themselves tend to be not so hot, with an average of 2.7 stars.

Alexa, what’s new?

We looked at the Skills with the highest number of new ratings during April as well as the new Skills added during the same month.
Similar to the overall most-rated Skills, many of the Skills that received the most ratings during April were the ambient sound Skills. There are some new Skills emerging, though, like the Find My Phone skill.

In regard to new Skills, some of the trending Skills, based on the number of ratings, are games like Call of Duty, Amazon’s Store Card, Smarty Pants trivia, and HerMoney Radio financial advice by Jean Chatzky.

While voice assistants are still a relatively new space, brands and voice app companies are still creating a lot of exciting developments and new Skills every day. I look forward to seeing what the future has in store for digital assistants and voice applications, especially in the Alexa Skills marketplace.