Global sales of smart speakers hit a record high last year, with 146.9 million units shipped, an increase of 70% over 2018. This is the result of a recent Strategy Analytics report on the development of the smart speaker market. Although Amazon is still by far the leader in the United States, its share of the global market is now declining as Chinese suppliers gain importance.
However, Amazon's Echo brand continues to lead global sales of smart speakers with a 26.2% share in 2019. However, this is a decrease from Amazon's share of 33.7% in 2018. Amazon's decline was also not Google's gain in terms of market share. Instead, the second-placed Google dropped from 25.9% in 2018 to 20.3% last year.
Despite this, Amazon and Google maintained their leadership position in North America and Europe in 2019, where they accounted for more than three-quarters of all sales of smart speakers.
In the meantime, the Chinese providers Baidu, Alibaba and Xiaomi increased their respective shares in 2019. And Apple remained in sixth place with only 4.7%.
The numbers were slightly better in the fourth quarter of 2019 alone, thanks to the Christmas business season, when vendors lowered the price of entry-level smart speakers to encourage purchases and other Christmas sales. Amazon led the quarter with 15.8 million units shipped, followed by Google in third place with 13.9 million and the Chinese brand Baidu with 5.9 million.
Smart speaker sales in the fourth quarter were 55.7 million units, the highest level ever. This was due to strong Christmas sales in the United States and Europe in the quarter. In addition, Google’s smart speaker business improved after a combination of product launches, improved component offerings and strong advertising activities, the analyst company said.
"Consumer appetite for smart speakers remained strong throughout the important fourth quarter, as newly launched devices with improved features and audio performance helped increase quarterly record deliveries," said David Watkins, director at Strategy Analytics, in a statement. "Consumers around the world have once again been drawn to barely credible deals from leading brands like Google, Amazon, Baidu and Alibaba, while Google in particular has stepped up its advertising efforts in collaboration with brands like YouTube and Spotify."
Despite the effects of coronavirus (Covid-19) on supply and demand, Strategy Analytics believes 2020 will be another record year for smart speakers.
The full report is available here.