The recent flurry of smart speaker unveilings from Amazon, Sonos and Google significantly expands the options available to consumers but will also lead to increased scrutiny by buyers of their own particular needs and preferences.
According to Strategy Analytics, rather than leading to indecisiveness and possibly no purchase at all, increased choice can help drive significant growth amongst first-time buyers as well as stimulate wider multiple smart speaker ownership.
Strategy Analytics’ associated Quarterly Smart Speaker Vendor and Voice OS Market Share and Global Smart Speaker Forecast 2014-2022 reports are published here:
Key findings from Strategy Analytics latest smart speaker reports include:
- As a result of wider product choice and country availability, fourth quarter 2017 sales of smart speakers are expected to reach nearly twelve million units globally, bringing the full year total to twenty four million units.
- An estimated 68% of all smart speakers sold this year will run on Amazon’s Alexa platform while Google’s Assistant will account for just over 20% of sales.
- Manufacturers of first-party speakers such as Amazon, Google and Baidu will account for the overwhelming majority of smart speaker sales in 2017 but their collective share will fall to less than 70% by 2020 as they begin to increasingly leave hardware development to third-party manufacturers in order to concentrate on optimising their virtual personal assistants.
David Watkins, director within the Intelligent Home Group at Strategy Analytics commented that “Consumers who are looking to buy a smart speaker this coming holiday season will have a wide range of form factors, prices and feature sets to choose from.
Segmentation will inevitably occur along traditional brand loyalty lines and those looking for the best possible audio experience. However, manufacturers and retailers will do well to demonstrate the key use cases and suitability of the different available options so as not to alienate less tech savvy first time buyers.”
Joe Branca, senior analyst, added, “Manufacturers are clearly very much still in experimentation mode with regards to finding out which combination of feature set, size and price will trigger mass market adoption of smart speakers.
Of course, there is unlikely to ever be a one size fits all solution given the wide variation in consumer budget, audio quality expectation and virtual assistant ecosystem preference. Rather, consumers will choose to put smart speakers into specific rooms in their homes based on the combination of features being right for its use in that space.”