Amazon reports earnings on Thursday, and it will probably spend most of its time talking about e-commerce and its fast-growing cloud computing business, Amazon Web Services.
But there's a third business that could become Amazon's next big growth driver: Echo.
Echo is Amazon's virtual assistant and audio speaker that lets you control and connect with other services through your voice. It comes with Alexa, Amazon's Siri-like voice-activated service, so you can play a music playlist or order a product simply by talking.
Although Echo has been in the market for only about 7 months, it's been selling like hotcakes, consistently ranking high in Amazon's best sellers list.
And Scot Wingo, executive chairman of ChannelAdvisor, believes it's already starting to show signs of becoming Amazon's next billion-dollar business.
"Everyone talks about what is the third billion-dollar business going to be for Amazon, and it could be Echo," Wingo told us.
Wingo's company came up with a metric called same store sales (SSS), which is commonly used to track the success of third-party sales on Amazon's platform, and he watches the company pretty closely.
Echo was one of the surprise stars at this year's Consumer Electronics Show, and Amazon said it was the top-selling device priced over $100 on Black Friday. It was also one of the top 5 items ordered on Christmas Eve through Prime Now, Amazon said.
But perhaps the biggest signal of Amazon's high hopes for Echo is the fact that it will be prominently featured in the online store's first-ever Super Bowl ad, which was announced today. The ad's teaser shows actor Alec Baldwin and retired football star Dan Marino playing with Echo during the Super Bowl party.
"Amazon hasn't done a lot of advertising, so it's really interesting to see this," Wingo added. "To my knowledge, Amazon has never done an ad for even the Kindle. So it almost kind of says, 'hey this could be bigger than Kindle,' which is pretty amazing," Wingo said.
Unfortunately, we won't hear much about Echo on tomorrow's call, aside from some trivial data Amazon likes to share, during Thursday's earnings, Wingo said. It's still probably too small compared to some of Amazon's bigger initiatives, like Amazon Web Services or the rumored logistics business, and Wall Street analysts aren't tracking it so closely yet.
Here's the Super Bowl ad:
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