Google overtakes Amazon to lead in smart speaker market unit sales

Smart speakers continue to be the world’s fastest-growing consumer technology segment, with year-on-year growth in Q1 2018 of 210% as shipments reached 9 million units. Google took the top spot, beating Amazon for the first time, shipping 3.2 million of its Google Home and Home Mini devices, against the 2.5 million Echo devices shipped by Amazon. The US market share fell below 50% for the first time, partly due to Google and Amazon’s focus on expanding beyond their home markets, but also because of the increased traction that the technology is seeing with new vendors in markets such as China and South Korea. Vendors shipped 1.8 million smart speakers into the channel in Q1 2018 in China, while Korea overtook the UK to become the third largest market with 730,000 shipments.

Google overtakes Amazon to lead in smart speaker market unit sales

Alibaba finished third overall and retained its number one position in China with 1.1 million Tmall Genie speaker shipments in Q1 2018. “Alibaba has done well to sustain its strong sales momentum since the 11.11 shopping festival in Q4 last year, largely due to Tmall’s superior channel reach and Alibaba’s powerful marketing capabilities,” said Hattie He, Canalys Research Analyst. China’s smart speaker market is growing, with shipments up sequentially by more than 60%. Xiaomi, whose main business is selling smartphones, shipped over 600,000 of its Xiao AI speakers to China in Q1, coming a distant second after Alibaba’s Tmall Genie. “Awareness of smart speakers and their uses is growing steadily among Chinese consumers. But competition is building quickly for Alibaba, as IPO-hopeful Xiaomi takes to the smart speaker segment with much vigor in 2018.”

Google overtakes Amazon to lead in smart speaker market unit sales

Google’s success comes on the back of shipments into new markets, such as India, where it has explored new go-to-market strategies by partnering with service providers, such as Jio and ACT Fibernet, to reach users. “Google has several advantages over Amazon that have helped it move ahead,” said Canalys Analyst Ben Stanton. “But its biggest advantage is in the channel. Operators and retailers tend to prioritize Google’s speakers over those from Amazon, as Amazon is in the tricky position of being a direct competitor. But Amazon is fighting back hard, and the sheer quantity of Alexa Skills and smart home integrations will be tough for any competitor to match.”

Smart speaker quarterly estimate and forecast data is taken from Canalys’ Smart Analysis service.

Source: Canalys

MacDailyNews Take: It’s too early for HomePod to show up in unit sales estimates like this. And, as we all know from smartphones, unit share are one thing, profit share is quite another.

A finally finished HomePod (with flawless multi-room audio and stereo pairing out of the box) and, potentially others in the HomePod family, are products for Christmas 2018 and beyond.MacDailyNews, April 13, 2018

Apple’s HomePod makes a small dent in smart speaker market in debut quarter – May 18, 2018
Strategy Analytics: Apple shipped 600,000 HomePods in Q1 for 6% share of smart speaker market – May 17, 2018
Apple’s iPhone X made 5 times the profit of 600 Android OEMs combined – April 18, 2018


  1. Imo
    Inovation wise Google is kicking butt, in Many fronts…. i hate to admit. Amazon is running full-force on all cylinders!

    Apple is strolling in the park….. as if there are no concerns while there are many. …….AI in its many forms at the top of the list !..

    Profits wont last if inovation does not keep pace or surpass.

  2. Then This Happened:

    Amazon confirms that Echo device secretly shared user’s private audio [Updated]
    The call that started it all: “Unplug your Alexa devices right now.”

    After calling Amazon customer service, Danielle said she received the following explanation and response: “‘Our engineers went through all of your logs. They saw exactly what you told us, exactly what you said happened, and we’re sorry.’ He apologized like 15 times in a matter of 30 minutes. ‘This is something we need to fix.'”


    1. Oh And This Happened:

      ‘Recipe for authoritarianism’: Amazon under fire for selling face-recognition software to police
      ACLU releases documentation on Amazon Rekognition software, fueling fears of surveillance via police body cameras

      The scope and scale of that surveillance became clearer Tuesday, when the American Civil Liberties Union of Northern California released a collection of public records detailing how Amazon has been marketing and selling facial recognition software, called Amazon Rekognition, to law enforcement agencies….

      The ACLU and about 40 other organizations also released a letter to the Amazon chief executive, Jeff Bezos, calling on the company to stop selling Rekognition and its “dangerous surveillance powers” to the government.

      “Rekognition is a powerful surveillance system readily available to violate rights and target communities of color,” the groups wrote. “With Rekognition, Amazon delivers these dangerous surveillance powers directly to the government.”

      Realistically, face recognition out on the street is statistically a FAIL with as high as 92% false positives. Oops. It’s more AI bullshit. But the enthusiasm for it is scary manic amongst law enforcement. Once again we have the likelihood of US Fourth Amendment to the Constitution violations shoved in We The People’s faces. Where’s the WARRANT?!

      Totalitarianism is a nasty little brat that requires a severe spanking.

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