Despite the efforts on the part of competitors to reign in Amazon’s leadership in the voice-activated smart speaker market, thanks to the Echo powered by Alexa, rivals are making little inroads.
Meanwhile Google Assistant, which is found in the Google Home device, will represent just over 20 percent of sales. What’s more, Amazon, Google and Baidu will account for the majority of smart speaker sales in the U.S. this year. Their share of the market will drop to less than 70 percent by 2020, as they give up on the hardware to perfect their voice-activated personal assistants, the research firm predicted. Strategy Analytics is forecasting sales of 24 million units this year.
“Consumers who are looking to buy a smart speaker this coming holiday season will have a wide range of form factors, prices and feature sets to choose from. Segmentation will inevitably occur along traditional brand loyalty lines and those looking for the best possible audio experience. However, manufacturers and retailers will do well to demonstrate the key use cases and suitability of the different available options so as not to alienate less tech-savvy, first-time buyers,” said David Watkin, director within the Intelligent Home Group at Strategy Analytics, in a press release.
While smart speakers have been getting a lot of attention from the media, and tech powerhouses, including Microsoft and Alibaba, have also been entering the market, Strategy Analytics said manufacturers are still in the experimentation mode in terms of figuring out what will prompt mass market adoption of the smart speakers.
“There is unlikely to ever be a one-size-fits-all solution, given the wide variation in consumer budget, audio quality expectation and virtual assistant ecosystem preference. Rather, consumers will choose to put smart speakers into specific rooms in their homes based on the combination of features being right for its use in that space,” noted Joseph Branca, senior analyst at Strategy Analytics.