Brand-wise, Amazon regained the top spot with 6.3 million of its Echo devices, after trailing Google — which shipped 5.9 million units in Q3 — during the previous two quarters.
The US was the country with most shipments, with 8.3 million. China took the second spot with 5.8 million, with the entry of Baidu during the quarter providing competition to Alibaba and Xiaomi within the country.
At the global level, only four brands — from Amazon, Google, Alibaba and Xiaomi — made an impact, garnering 82.6% of shipments, with all other brands accounting for the remaining 17.4%
Both Amazon and Google have also brought out new devices with improved features in time for the holiday season. "To encourage adoption, vendors are also constantly building on the theme of home automation and IoT, to position smart speakers as central hubs," said Thielke.
"But they still face a key issue in lowering barriers to adoption, especially with compatible systems that need expert installation."
Apart from competition between brands, political factors are also affecting the market with vendors on the alert due to the rising US-China trade tensions.
Canalys senior analyst Jason Low said: "The uncertainties brought [about] by the rising trade tensions have forced international vendors to increase production to ensure a healthy sell-in, not only for the holidays, but also for early 2019.
"This bodes well for Chinese device manufacturers but could trigger an unexpected slowdown in shipment growth in 2019, as vendors clear out inventory."