Thursday, May 3, 2018

Smart Speaker Rivalry Heats Up

While Amazon Echo dominates the voice-enabled speaker market, its user share is slowly shrinking, as those of Google Home and smaller rivals begin to grow. Overall, smart speaker usage is accelerating as device capabilities expand, according to eMarketer’s latest forecast on the topic.

This year, 40.7 million people of any age in the US will use an Amazon Echo at least once a month, equating to two-thirds of smart speaker users. However, that share is expected to fall to 60.8% by 2020. (By eMarketer’s definition, a voice-enabled speaker user does not necessarily have to be an owner. Therefore, there is overlap in brand usage, as people often own and/or use multiple brands of speakers.)

Meanwhile, No. 2 player Google Home will have 18.0 million users this year. While it will remain a distant second in terms of users during the forecast period, its share is growing. In 2018, it will capture 29.5% of the smart speaker audience, and that figure will grow to nearly 33% by 2020.

“Google Home’s competitively priced Mini drove growth for the brand in the 2017 holiday season,” said eMarketer forecasting analyst Jaimie Chung. “With Amazon and Google vying for spots in both the smart-home and ecommerce spaces, Google’s pricing has revitalized the artificial intelligence race to dominate the home.”

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