The year 2018 will remain as the year of the advent of the connected speaker in the world. According to the firm Strategy Analytics, it is the best-selling consumer electronics product last year. Better yet, sales rose 95% to 38.5 million units in the fourth quarter alone, more than all of 2017. No doubt the holiday season contributed to this surge. A total of 86.2 million connected speakers were sold worldwide in 2018 and 60 million households now have at least one device of this type.
Amazon and Google, which have been heavily involved in the development of voice assistants, both had a strong fourth quarter thanks to sales of the “mini” versions of their smart speakers, the Echo Dot and Home Mini respectively. The two giants recorded significant quarterly growth in their market share (35% for Amazon in the fourth quarter of 2018, and 30% for Amazon). Alibaba is in third place with 2.8 million units sold in the fourth quarter of 2018, but a market share down to 7.3% in the fourth quarter of 2018. On the side ofApple, the firm has also seen its sales increase by 45%, despite a market share that fell to 4.1% in the fourth quarter.
Smart display devices such as Google’s Home Hub, Amazon’s Echo Show or Baidu’s Xiaodu Zaijia, which mix audio and visuals would have made up 10% of total orders in Q4 2018. They should continue to represent a significant growth driver in connected speaker sales in 2019. From now on, the groups behind connected speakers and their voice assistants will be able to seek ways to further monetize their user base while respecting various security issues data and privacy.