The virtual assistant microphone Echo has gotten a lift following its popular Super Bowl ad, climbing as high as the No. 2 spot on Amazon's list of electronics best sellers.
It seems more people have become aware of the multi-functional gadget -- a sleek black cylinder that responds to voice commands -- after seeing the commercial featuring Alec Baldwin, Dan Marino, Missy Elliott and Jason Schwartzman. It was the first big game TV spot for Amazon, which owns Echo.
Echo was already high on the list before the commercial. The product came in at fourth place the day before the Big Game, prompting Quartz to dub the virtual assistant a sleeper hit. Echo fell down to the third place slot today, sitting behind the Amazon Fire tablet and Fire TV stick.
With the standalone microphone virtual assistant now able to order Ubers and control Spotify, the Siri competitor that responds to the name "Alexa" appears to be on a fast rise. This isn't just news for Amazon -- it's news for the whole field of virtual personal assistants.
"When it came out, people kind of scratched their heads a little bit," says eMarketer analyst Bryan Yeager. But with the device now ranking high on the best sellers' list, it appears consumers understand its use. Amazon doesn't release sales figures.
What makes the Echo unique among most virtual assistant products is that it's a standalone physical product entirely devoted to being a voice activated personal assistant. This makes it easier to track interest.
"I think the challenge with a Siri, or Cortana, or Google Now right now is that they're kind of baked into the operating systems," says Yeager.
Sales of Apple, Microsoft and Android products don't necessarily indicate popularity of usage of their virtual assistants. So to Yeager, performance of Amazon's Echo serves as a barometer for performance of virtual assistants in general.
"There's definitely I'd say more interest in it," he says of the virtual assistant market, "but it's hard to quantify."
Inc. has reached out to Amazon for comment on what's driving Echo's rise.