The rise in smart speaker usage early on in the pandemic suggests this will be a continuing trend into Q2: Business Insider Intelligence expects 53% of US smart speaker owners will be daily users by the end of June 2020, up from 33% at the end of 2019, per NPR and Edison Research.
Amazon's updates to the Drop In and Reminder features are geared toward boosting user engagement with multiple Alexa-enabled devices placed around the home.
Business Insider Intelligence Drop In allows Alexa users to send messages to other Alexa-enabled devices, but the feature previously only worked with one device at a time.
Amazon is evolving its Echo smart speaker lineup into an in-house intercom system by allowing users to set reminders that can be played across all Alexa hardware and enabling Drop In to be used on all Echo devices in the house at once.
Amazon's move to introduce updates that are designed to heighten engagement throughout the home will help the company better position itself as users become more reliant on their devices during this time, which could lead to users developing habits around these features that outlast the pandemic.