The young smart speaker market saw an upturn in 2018 thanks in large part to Chinese manufacturers and American companies such as Amazon and Google.
During 2018, 78 million smart speakers were sold worldwide, with Amazon in the lead, Google following in its footsteps and the Chinese Alibaba, Xiaomi and Baidu from third to fifth place, respectively. Compared to the previous year, Canalys says, the sale of horns grew by 125 percent.
All started with Amazon
Amazon managed to stay in first place by distributing 24.2 million smart speakers in 2018 and reach a share of 31.1 percent. However, Google had an exponential growth (109.6 percent vs. 2017) to sell 23.4 million units sold in 2018.
Chinese manufacturers, despite selling only in that region, continue to stomp. Alibaba, with an 11.4 percent market share, distributed 8.9 million units in the year. Xiaomi, the fastest growing annual -8,744.3 percent-, reached 7.1 million units shipped. Baidu, which in 2017 had no presence, distributed 3.6 million units in the period.
What is the rest of the market doing
The big manufacturers such as Samsung, Huawei and Apple are not taking advantage of their presence in the phone market and using it to gain a foothold in smart speakers, says Canalys. “Brands risk losing control, not only in the smart home segment, but in other areas as well, such as in work scenarios or in the car, where smart assistants and voice functions will increase their penetration and adoption,” he says. Canalys.
The Canalys study does not mention the units sold of the HomePod, the intelligent Apple horn. An independent study of Strategy Analytics and covering only the fourth quarter of 2018, mentions that HomePod sold 1.6 million units that period, behind Amazon that did the same with 13.7 million.
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Also published on Medium.