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Amazon Dominates Smart Speaker Q4 Shipments

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A new report shows that smart speaker sales are on the rise, with Amazon taking the top spot in shipments.

Strategy Analytics reported that in the fourth quarter of 2018, shipments of smart speakers grew 95 percent from 22.6 million units in Q3 to 38.5 million units — more than the entire total in 2017. For 2018, there were 86.2 million units sold.

The report also revealed that Amazon and Google enjoyed a strong fourth quarter due to their affordable Echo Dot and Home Mini speakers, with both companies recording quarter-over-quarter increases in market share. While Apple’s HomePod sales rose 45 percent, its market share fell 4.1 percent in Q4.

Amazon shipped 13.7 million smart speakers in Q4, an increase from 7.2 million in Q3, for a 35.5 percent share of the market. Google shipped 11.5 million units, a boost from 5.2 million in the previous quarter, for a 30 percent share. And Apple reported 1.6 million HomePod shipments in Q4 2018.

“Smart speakers and smart displays were once again the most sought-after tech products this past holiday season,” Dave Watkins, director at Strategy Analytics, said in a press release. “Smart displays such as Google’s Home Hub, Amazon’s Echo Show and Baidu’s Xiaodu Zaijia are proving popular with consumers who are attracted by the combination of audio and visual stimulus and the wider range of use cases compared to speaker-only devices.”

Strategy Analytics also estimated that around 60 million households worldwide currently own at least one smart speaker.

“The major technology vendors have done a great job at establishing the voice assistant market, and our research shows that users are highly satisfied with the way smart speakers are improving their daily lives. Now comes the question of how to monetize the user base, and it will be interesting to see how each player addresses this challenge,” David Mercer, vice president at Strategy Analytics, added. “The first step will be to encourage wider and more frequent use of apps and services via smart speakers that carry a revenue generation opportunity for the device OEM or platform provider. Voice shopping and ad-insertion are obvious examples, but the industry must address the data security and privacy concerns of smart speaker users before these become viable revenue streams.”

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