Amazon unveils new Alexa devices
European shoppers who waited until now to buy the latest Echo voice speakers for Christmas are out of luck. And not even a Prime membership can help them.
Amazon.com Inc.’s new generation of Alexa devices has sold out in parts of Europe and won’t be available again until the new year, according to the retailer’s websites in various countries. The same thing happened last year when various models became unavailable in North America and Europe the week before the holiday.
While “sellout” headlines can generate buzz for new products, highlighting how a hot product is flying off the shelves, the Echo speakers are an important part of Amazon’s sales strategy. The relatively modestly priced devices are seen as a way to rope users into the company’s ecosystem of products, and they face rising competition from other traditional leading consumer electronics brands, such as Apple Inc. and Samsung Electronics Co.
Customers trying to order third-generation Echo speakers on the U.K. website on Wednesday were told that they won’t be able to receive their order until sometime between Dec. 25 and Jan. 2, depending on the color. A listing for the Echo Dot, a hockey-puck-sized speaker that sells for 24.99 pounds ($32.85), said it’s out of stock until Dec. 20 or later.
French, Spanish and German shoppers looking for an Echo are out of luck until January. The Dot appears to be back in stock a few days before Christmas, but won’t necessarily make it to the proper destination before the holiday.
The beefed-up Echo Studio, a higher-end speaker aimed at music lovers that retails for 190 pounds in Britain, is also out of stock until the new year in those markets. The Echo Show, which has a video screen, is still in stock.
A spokesman for Amazon didn’t have an immediate comment.
Echo speakers are still available in the U.S. and customers can find some in Europe from third-party retailers.
--With assistance from Natalia Drozdiak, Rodrigo Orihuela and Helene Fouquet.