Global smart speaker installed base to grow 82% this year: Canalys

Global smart speaker installed base to grow 82% this year: Canalys
Smart speaker installed base worldwide will grow 82% from 114 million units in 2018 to 207.9 million units in 2019, according to a report by independent analyst company Canalys.
 
The U.S. is expected to maintain its lead in terms of smart speaker adoption, accounting for 42% of the global installed base by the end of the year.
 
For the rest of the world, East Asia stands out (particularly China), as countries in the region have large middle-class households and a working population willing to embrace new technologies, said Canalys.
 
The U.S. will have close to 90 million installed smart speaker units this year, while China will have 60 million. The two countries lead other countries in the world by large margins.
 
Growth in smart speaker adoption is expected to soar across regions. The U.S. is forecast to see a 46% rise, while China is forecast to see a 166% growth. The UK is predicted to grow 47%, Germany 49%, Canada 80%, South Korea 132% and Japan 131%.
 
The growth of smart speaker installed base is on track of an upward trajectory until 2023. Tablets and wearable bands, on the other hand, will experience flat and slower growth, respectively. As a result, smart speaker installed base will surpass tablets by 2021, Canalys pointed out.
 
The growing smart speaker adoption presents an opportunity to create new business models, said Canalys Senior Analyst Jason Low. “Smart assistants are becoming a conduit to offer services, such as assisted living, healthcare and government services.”
 
As smart assistants become more popular among the masses, “extended technology players in the fields of security, finance, health, data analytics and others should be on the lookout for new opportunities arising from this trend,” Canalys says.

Amazon Alexa’s growing capability

Amazon is leading the market globally, but will need to enhance the capability of its voice assistant Alexa. “With the updated Echo range already in place for 2019, Amazon is expected to switch gears to extend Alexa’s reach into areas such as automobiles via developers and ecosystem device vendors,” Low said.
 
“Third parties that support Alexa are eagerly pursuing money-making and growth opportunities. If Amazon fails to support these companies, it could lead to waning commitment, which will be detrimental to the platform.”
 
Google came close to beating Amazon in 2018. The former shipped 23.4 million while the latter shipped 24.2 million, taking up a 30% and 31% market share, respectively. Google Home shipment jumped 109% between 2017 and 2018.

The Chinese market

In China, Tmall Genie is leading in the smart speaker market, with a predicted 39% market share in 2019, followed by Xiao Ai with a 25% market share and DuerOS with a 24% market share. Canalys forecast a 13% smart speaker penetration among Chinese households.
 
“Local vendors are bullish about China’s smart speaker market, and their aim for this year is to keep growing their respective installed bases in the country by shipping more devices into households,” Low said.
 
“Hardware differentiation is becoming increasingly difficult, and consumers have higher expectations of smart speakers and smart assistants. Vendors will need to focus on marketing the next-generation ‘wow factor’ for their respective smart assistants and voice services to change consumers’ perception and drive greater adoption.”
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