U.K. Smart Speaker Usage Doubles in 2018, Growth Expected to Slow in 2019, Amazon Commands 68% Market Share
- Smart speaker adoption doubled in the U.K. in 2018 rising to 9.5 million monthly active users according to eMarketer
- Amazon holds dominant market share at 68% to Google’s 26%, but that gap is expected to narrow by seven points in 2019
- eMarketer expects monthly smart speaker users to rise to 12.6 million in 2019, reaching about 19% market adoption
Smart speaker usage in the U.K. grew by 98.6% in 2018 according to a new report by eMarketer. That resulted in 9.5 million smart speaker users and 14.4% of the population in 2018 up from 4.8 million and 7.2% in 2017. eMarketer forecasts that number to rise further to 12.6 million in 2019 and represent about 19% penetration of the U.K. population. However, that rise reflects a slowdown in growth by about two-thirds to only 31.6%. This may turn out to be a pessimistic forecast, but a slowdown in the growth rate is inevitable.
Amazon Dominates Smart Speaker Market Share
eMarketer’s research also found that Amazon dominates smart speaker market share in the U.K. and that trend will continue in 2019. The firm estimates that Amazon controlled 68% share compared to about 26% for Google and just 7% for other device makers. Amazon’s share is expected to slide by about 4% in 2019 which will largely be to the benefit of Google whose market share will rise to nearly 30%. Jaimie Chung, eMarketer forecasting analyst, commented:
Early adopters tend to be open-minded about brands, usually picking whichever speaker is first available in stores. Amazon got to the UK before Google, and usage reflects this…Market shares will continue to shift as users learn the nuances of the different voice assistants.
This comment suggests Chung sees some feature advantages for Google that will help it expand market share at Amazon’s expense. However, the big story may be less about relative market share of device makers and more the fact that about 1-in-5 U.K. residents will use a smart speaker monthly by the end of 2019. That is starting to look like a consumer channel with reach and should increase business interest in voice assistants as a platform for engagement.
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