- Amazon is making a bigger push into in-car commerce and other voice-powered services with dozens of collaborations with carmakers, gas stations and providers of connected-car technology. The e-commerce giant is expanding the availability of its Alexa voice assistant outside of the home, letting drivers use voice commands to ask for directions and to pay for gas, among other services, according to an announcement.
- Amazon and ExxonMobil announced a partnership that in April will let drivers use voice commands to pay for gas at more than 11,500 Exxon and Mobile gas stations in the U.S. The payment service will be available to drivers who have Alexa on their in-car infotainment system, or who use an Echo Auto smart speaker or other Alexa-enabled device, including a smartphone, per the announcement.
- Amazon also partnered with BMW and Fiat Chrysler to bring its Fire TV content streaming features to their vehicles, per an announcement timed with CES 2020. In addition, the company announced integrations with firms that offer navigation services, such as Bosch, Here, TomTom, Telenav and Melco.
The scope of Amazon's ambitions for in-car commerce are significant as the e-commerce giant announces a slew a collaborations aimed at putting its Alexa voice assistant into millions of cars worldwide. Amazon is the dominant maker of smart speakers, giving it an edge in smart-home services, but has been crowded out of smartphones by rival voice assistants such as Apple's Siri and Google Assistant that come preinstalled.
In-vehicle infotainment platforms are becoming the newest battleground for tech companies, while many carmakers are developing proprietary voice-powered services to protect valuable data about their customers. Monetizing the data from connected cars will become a $750 billion industry by 2030, consulting firm McKinsey estimated, including the direct marketing of products and services to consumers, and from sales of data and targeted advertising.
Amazon likely wants to carve out a piece of the growing market for in-car commerce. U.S. drivers spend about $212 billion during their commutes, unleashing enormous marketing potential for connected-car technologies. About 135 million people, or more than half (54%) of the U.S. adult population, rely on a car to get to work. They typically spend 15 to 30 minutes each way, according to a study from Visa and Pymnts.com. One-third of all commuters spend more than an hour round trip, which adds up to a lot of time behind the wheel and presents an opportunity for marketers to fill.