Home Internet of Things Amazon regains smart speaker crown in Q3 as shipments boom
Amazon regains smart speaker crown in Q3 as shipments boom Pixabay

Smart speaker shipments reached 19.7 million units in the third quarter of 2018, a rise of 137% year-on-year, the analyst firm Canalys reported, adding that this tied in with its forecast of 75 million units for the year.

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%

Canalys said vendors were changing their strategies to target new groups of buyers. "College and university students are key consumers of music streaming services - low-hanging fruit that both Amazon and Google picked with back-to-school deals to encourage adoption of smart speakers in dorm rooms," said Canalys research analyst Vincent Thielke.

smart speaker canalys q3

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."


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Sam Varghese has been writing for iTWire since 2006, a year after the sitecame into existence. For nearly a decade thereafter, he wrote mostly about free and open source software, based on his own use of this genre of software. Since May 2016, he has been writing across many areas of technology. He has been a journalist for nearly 40 years in India (Indian Express and Deccan Herald), the UAE (Khaleej Times) and Australia (Daily Commercial News (now defunct) and The Age). His personal blog is titled Irregular Expression.


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