Amazon holds the dominant edge in the market for smart speakers, as about 70 percent of people in the U.S. who use the devices are using an Amazon Echo, according to a report Monday (Feb. 9) by eMarketer.
That makes the online retail behemoth the definite leader in that field, and it's expected to hold that lead through 2021, according to estimates from eMarketer.
The number is slightly down this year, with 69.7 percent of users claiming the Amazon Echo as their speaker of choice. Last year, the figure was 72.9 percent.
Some will be going with other speaker brands — there was 31.7 percent of users who said they’ll be using a Google device. Just 18.4 percent will be using another brand, such as the Apple HomePod, Harmon Kardon Invoke or Sonos One. Because some people have more than one kind of speaker, the percentages add up to more than 100 percent, eMarketer noted.
Amazon wasn’t the first on the market with a voice assistant, but its Amazon Echo speaker, with the voice assistant Alexa built in, was the first introduced in the U.S. in 2014. Since then, Amazon has introduced new features regularly that aim to make the Echo easier to use.
They’ve also introduced the Alexa to outside developers and created collaborations with other home devices — although it does perform less well in non-English-speaking countries due to the lack of compatibility with other languages.
EMarketer said it expects speaker sales to eventually slow down as Alexa and similar products migrate into new forms, such as vehicles, appliances and other smart home devices.
Amazon has also received criticism for how it has handled speakers in the past. In a lawsuit against Google, software company Sonos says Google used its patents and then made different products to undercut Sonos. Sonos also said the problem is indicative of a larger one in which companies like Amazon, due to their size and resources, are able to essentially muscle smaller competitors out of the industry.