It’s taken a little while, relatively speaking, but smart speaker ownership finally appears to be taking off. According to the latest report released today by Parks Associates, ownership of smart speakers reached 27 percent of broadband households in the U.S. during Q1 2018. That’s up almost double the 15 percent in Q3 2017. The new research from Parks, part of their new “Global Connected Living Outlook” report, will be discussed during their CONNECTIONS Conference in San Francisco next week.
“Smart speakers with personal assistants represent the early stages of innovations that use AI elements to expand the user experience,” Jennifer Kent, Director, Research Quality & Product Development, Parks Associates, said in a statement. “They have proven very successful and are part of the evolution in the connected home from a collection of standalone devices to a unified experience with personalized and coordinated scenes.”
The proliferation of the technology is not shocking, but it is nice to see that consumers are starting to embrace smart speakers, even if they remain somewhat uncertain about the personal security and privacy implications of the devices.
Another new report out this week helped to paint an interesting picture of how the dominant players in the space are performing. It goes without question that Amazon is far and away the leader in the category right now, but the company saw its market share plummet during the first quarter of 2018, based on the number of shipments in that three month period.
Data from Strategy Analytics showed that Amazon shipped 4 million smart speaker units in Q1, which accounted for over 43 percent of the 9.2 million units shipped during the quarter. That’s down from 81.8 percent during the same period last year.
It’s the gains made by other market competitors and new entrants into the category that helped eat away at Amazon’s lead. Google, which ranked second last quarter, shipped 2.4 million units to capture 26.5 percent of the market share, up from 12.4 percent last year.
New entrants into the market that weren’t shipping smart speakers at this time last year included Alibaba (0.7 million units shipped, 7.6 percent market share), Apple (0.6 million, 6 percent), and Xiaomi (0.2 million, 2.4 percent). Collectively, that’s more than 1.5 million units and 16 percent market share right there. Not overwhelming numbers by any stretch, but enough to show that this isn’t just a one or two horse race any longer.