According to a new report by Strategy Analytics, the smart speaker market is booming with impressive sales numbers, thanks in large part to Amazon Alexa and their Echo line of smart speakers.
According to report, the sales of smart speakers in Q4 2017 is expected to reach nearly 12 million mark. This would bring up the full year total sales for 2017 to an impressive 24 million. This is an increase of more than 300% from the previous year. The single biggest driver of this growth has been the influx of new smart speakers from companies such as Amazon, Google and Sonos. This adds to a growing list of smart speaker manufacturers, which currently already include Harman, Fabriq, Panasonic and more. There are also plenty of manufacturers waiting on the sidelines, who are due to launch their own smart speakers very soon.
There are also more Virtual Digital Assistants powering these speakers than ever before. Amazon Alexa and Google Assistant are already mainstays in the market. Apple is due to enter the market soon, with its Siri powered HomePod, and so is Microsoft Cortana and Samsung’s Bixby based speakers.
However, despite the increasing competition, Amazon continues to dominate the market quite convincingly. According to the report, 68% of all smart speakers sold in 2017 will be powered by Amazon Alexa. The closest competitor to Alexa is Google Assistant, which will power only 20% of smart speakers sold this year. The remaining market share will be divided up between Chinese firm Baidu, and some other fringe players. Of course, this top three could be due for a shakeup when Apple’s HomePod finally releases.
The reasons behind Alexa’s immense success are twofold. The first is Alexa itself, which is a far more effective Virtual Digital Assistant than many of its competitors. This is due to its unique “skill” based functionality, which enables third-party developers to enhance Alexa’s feature set immensely. Secondly, Amazon has curated a vastly varied lineup of smart speakers in order to appeal to different demographics. These devices range from the cheap Echo Dot priced at $50, all the way up to the Echo Show, which even boasts an inbuilt display.
It is hard to see Amazon’s vice grip on the market loosening anytime soon, especially in light of their considerable efforts to make inroads into high potential markets such as India. However, we can expect the collective hardware sales share of the top three (Amazon, Google and Baidu) to drop by 2020 as third-party offerings become more commonplace.