Published: Fri, May 18, 2018
Industry | By Terrell Bush

Google, Amazon ahead in global smart speaker market

Google, Amazon ahead in global smart speaker market

Chinese emall giant Alibaba (7.6% market share) shipped 700,000 branded smart speakers, Apple (6%) had 600,000 HomePods in transit, and Xiaomi (2.4%) delivered 200,000 units during the first quarter of 2018.

Global smart speaker shipments reached close to 9.2 million units in the first quarter as revealed by market research firm Strategy Analytics. Google on the other hand, shipped 2.4 million Google Home speakers, and has a market share of 26.5 percent.

However, while Apple is still a long way between market leaders Amazon and Google, it's worth noting that the HomePod didn't go on sale until 9 February, so Apple didn't have the full quarter to rack up sales.

Amazon was still the top contender, with shipments rising to 4 million from 2 million, but its market share nearly halved as competition in the sector heated up with the entrance of Alibaba, Apple and Xiaomi.

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In the coming months, we can expect more growth in smart speaker sales, especially with companies like Amazon and Google set to bring smart displays.

What's more, Strategy Analytics' figures are just estimates, and with Apple yet to cough on exact sales figures, it's still unclear exactly how numerous bin-like, Siri-powered speakers have been sold.

Speaking to the growing interest in smart speakers overall, Echo shipments year over year increased by an impressive 102%. "We are clearly heading towards to a time in the not too distant future when voice becomes a standard mode of technology interaction alongside established approaches like keyboard, mouse and touchscreen". So even though sound quality on the HomePod is unrivaled amongst other smart speakers, it appears that a top of the line intelligent assistant coupled with "good enough" sound quality is what consumers are mainly interested in.

With China, a country with 721 million internet users, becoming a forbidden garden for both, it is natural that they have turned to the next best thing - India - with 300 million and rising internet users.

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