Strategy Analytics Reports Explosive Smart Speaker Growth in Q4, 30 Million Units in 2017

Strategy Analytics is out with its Q4 2017 smart speaker shipment analysis and it is characterizing the numbers as representing “explosive growth.” The analysis estimated that 18.6 million smart speaker were sold in the U.S., UK, Germany, France and China. No one will be surprised that Amazon and Google held the top spots for sales, but it is notable that Alibaba entered the charts at number three. It is a distant number three, but the 500,000 Tmall Genie shipments surpassed Sonos One sales and were more than ten times higher than the Cortana-enabled Invoke sold by Harman Kardon.

Google Claims Rapid Market Share Expansion

In Q4 2016, Strategy Analytics reports that Amazon Echo commanded 88% market share by shipment volume with just 8.7% for Google Home. Despite the fact that Echo sales grew 138% in Q4 2017, Amazon’s market share fell to 51.8% while Google vaulted to 35.7%. Alibaba captured just 2.4% but that bested Sonos at 1.9% and Harman Kardon at 1.3%.

The Rise of the Other Smart Speakers

Change in the “other” category is worth noting. In 2016, it accounted for only about 100,000 units. The 2017 figure makes it appear to be 1.3 million and a 763% growth. However, there are some new entrants such as Alibaba, Sonos and Harman Kardon. It you look at the non-Amazon, non-Google segment, it grew from just 3.3% in 2016 to 12.6% in 2017. There are lot of companies vying for that slice of market share, but the growth is a good sign for independent speaker OEMs. Google and Amazon both win as well as their voice assistants are incorporated into many of these “other” smart speakers. David Watkins, Director of the new Smart Speaker service at Strategy Analytics commented:

Amazon and Google are in a battle to expand the number of users for their respective voice assistants as fast as they can and it is this laser-focused approach that is leaving little room for others. Brands such as Sonos, Harman Kardon and Sony hope that their expertise in design and audio quality will persuade consumers to dig a little deeper in their pockets while Apple will look to leverage its fast growing base of Apple Music subscribers to build early momentum for its HomePod speaker.”

There are many estimates on smart speaker sales that report varying levels of purchases. This estimate is global and it is important to note that it includes ten core countries tracked by Strategy Analytics that also happen to make up all of the key smart speaker markets today — U.S., Canada, U.K. Germany, France, India, Korea, China, Japan and Australia. What we can see in all of these sales estimates is a consistent trend…up and to the right.

Strategy Analytics had reported a forecast estimate of 12 million units in Q4 2017 and the new number today is more than 50% higher. When you combine the new figures with previous announcements, Strategy Analytics is showing 30.9 million smart speakers were sold globally in 2017. It looks like we are only getting started.

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