Strategy Analytics Updates Global Smart Speaker Report

November 12 2018, 01:55
Strategy Analytics just announced its Global Smart Speaker Q3 2018 market update, detailing vendor, shipments and installed base market share for the category by region. According to the market research firm, global smart speaker shipments grew nearly 200% year-over-year in Q3 2018 reaching 22.7 million units in the quarter. Amazon remained the top ranked smart speaker brand in the world, followed by Google and the Chinese trio of Alibaba, Baidu and Xiaomi who are all vying for control of their fast growing domestic market.

Amazon remained the top ranked smart speaker brand in the world although its market share has halved over the last twelve months. Google ranked second, performing particularly strongly in Western Europe where it has rapidly expanded its presence giving it first-mover advantage in key markets such as France, Italy and Spain. The top five was completed by Chinese trio Alibaba, Baidu and Xiaomi who are all vying for control of their fast growing domestic market. Baidu, in particular, made strong ground in Q3 following the launch of its first low-cost speaker. Apple rounded out the top six in Q3 2018 and was the only other vendor to ship more than one million units in the quarter. 

This new report provides quarterly global shipments and installed base metrics for the top 25+ smart speaker vendors across 14 voice operating systems from Q4 2014 through Q3 2018 with an estimate for the remainder of 2018 and Q1 2019. Regions covered include North America, Western Europe, Asia Pacific, Central & Latin America, Central & Eastern Europe and Africa & Middle East.

According to Strategy Analytics's Principal Analyst, David Mercer, "the response to smart speakers is one of the most upbeat we have seen. Users are overwhelmingly positive towards them and satisfaction rates are nearly 90%. Voice interaction is now becoming the preferred alternative to touchscreens and keyboards. Smart speakers have made life easier, and half of users say they can't now imagine life without one."

"While Amazon and Google currently dominate, brand loyalty is only around a third of existing owners. People are clearly ready to consider alternative brands, assuming they meet their high expectations for quality and compatibility. Bose, Samsung and Sonos are best positioned to benefit," Mercer adds.

The impact smart speakers are causing on media consumption is also significant. According to Strategy Analytics, half of users say they spend more time listening to music and radio, and nearly a third are using their smart speaker to control their smart TV or video streaming device.

On a separate release from the market research firm, focused on the United Kingdom, smart speakers like the Amazon Echo and Google Home are proving a big hit with Britain’s kids. According to the latest survey from Strategy Analytics, Smart Speaker User Survey - UK Results, at least 2 million children are using smart speakers in the UK, particularly for listening to music, searching for information and hearing jokes and funny stories. The analysis is based on an online survey of 1002 smart speaker users carried out in July/August 2018.

Listening to music is by far the most popular activity for children who use a smart speaker. 78% are using it to listen to music at least weekly and more than half at least once a day. Children’s usage of smart speakers is quite different from that of adults: children are more likely to use them to listen to jokes and play games, while adults are more likely to listen to the news and get weather information.

The research also found that more than half of children who use a smart speaker use it to help with homework, learn vocabulary or practice spelling. But in a third of homes where smart speakers are used and children are living, the children are not using a smart speaker at all.

David Watkins, Director, Smart Speakers at Strategy Analytics commented: “Some parents are clearly quite happy that their children are making use of smart speakers. They are mostly for entertainment, but they also have uses which are more serious, and, some would say, valuable.”

David Mercer, the report’s author added: “Smart speakers are fast becoming the go-to device in the home for entertainment and information applications, and children are quickly adapting to this new behavior. Music, games, video and information providers should take note and adapt their strategies to meet the needs of this fast growing audience.”
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