Amazon.com Inc. (AMZN) may be the leader in the smart speaker market thanks to Alexa, its voice-activated virtual assistant, but that hasn't stopped rivals from chipping away at its dominance.
So much so that for the first quarter Amazon’s market share around the globe has declined by close to half compared to a year ago according to new data from Strategy Analytics, the market research firm. According to its data, overall smart speaker shipments hit 9.2 million units during the first three months of the year, up from 2.2 million units shipped in the year-ago first quarter. While Amazon shipped an impressive 4 million devices during the three month period its market share stood at 43.6%, compared to 81.8% in the year-ago period. Meanwhile, Alphabet’s (GOOG) Google market share stood at 26.5%, up from 12.4%, while Alibaba (BABA), the Chinese e-commerce leader gained market share of 7.6% in its first year with a device on the market.
HomePod Controls 6% Of Market
Apple Inc. (AAPL) which was supposed to knock it out of the park with its HomePod smart speaker controlled only 6% of the global market. With a price tag of $349, the HomePod is more pricey than rivals and is focused more on being a high-end speaker than a voice-activated assistant. Last month reports surfaced that lackluster demand for the speaker has resulted in Apple reducing orders with at least one manufacturer and lowering its internal forecasts. (See more: Apple HomePod Sales Off to Slow Start.)
“Amazon and Google accounted for a dominant 70% share of global smart speaker shipments in Q1 2018 although their combined share has fallen from 84% in Q4 2017 and 94% in the year-ago quarter. This is partly as a result of strong growth in the Chinese market for smart speakers where both Amazon and Google are currently absent,” wrote David Watkins, director at Strategy Analytics in a press release highlighting the research report. “Alibaba and Xiaomi are leading the way in China and their strength in the domestic market alone is proving enough to propel them into the global
Just The Beginning For Smart Speakers
With the market seeing strong year-over-year growth David Mercer, vice president at Strategy Analytics noted the smart speaker market is proving to be resilient and not a one-hit wonder type of product. He thinks much more innovation is coming down the pike which bodes well for consumers and the industry. “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,” wrote the analyst.