Global smart speaker shipments climbed 95% year-over-year in Q4 2018 to reach 38.5 million units and push full year shipments to more than 86 million. Amazon continues to be the worldwide leader for smart speaker shipments and has managed to grow share for consecutive quarters. Google also had a strong quarter and closed the gap further on Amazon. Alibaba ranked third in Q4 2018 and is the market leader in the Asia Pacific region thanks to its leading position in the Chinese market. Baidu's presence in the market continues to accelerate rapdily and it rose a place to rank fourth globally in Q4. Xiaomi slipped to fifth overall but remains a key player in the Chinese market and is arguably the most likely of China's top three companies to expand sales of its smart speakers beyond the domestic. Apple rounded out the top six in Q4 2018 and was the only other vendor to ship more than one million units in the quarter. Apple’s HomePod sales rose 45%, but its market share fell back to 4.1% in Q4.
David Watkins, Director at Strategy Analytics, commented: “Smart speakers and smart displays were once again the most sought-after tech products this past holiday season and we estimate that more than 60 million households worldwide now own at least one device. Smart displays such as Google’s Home Hub, Amazon’s Echo Show and Baidu’s Xiaodu Zaijia are proving popular with consumers who are attracted by the combination of audio and visual stimulus and the wider range of use cases compared to speaker only devices. Smart displays made up more than 10% of total shipment demand in Q4 2018 and they are expected to be a significant driver of growth in the market through 2019.”
David Mercer, Vice President at Strategy Analytics, added, “The major technology vendors have done a great job at establishing the voice assistant market and our research shows that users are highly satisfied with the way smart speakers are improving their daily lives. Now comes the question of how to monetize the user base and it will be interesting to see how each player addresses this challenge. The first step will be to encourage wider and more frequent use of apps and services via smart speakers that carry a revenue generation opportunity for the device OEM or platform provider. Voice shopping and ad-insertion are obvious examples but the industry must address the data security and privacy concerns of smart speaker users before these become viable revenue streams.”
A complimentary report highlighting the key findings of Strategy Analytics’ recent consumer survey of early smart speaker adopters is available here.
The full report from Strategy Analytics’ Smart Speakers and Screens (SSS) service, Smart Speaker Vendor & OS Shipment and Installed Base Market Share by Region: Q4 2018 can be found here.