Amazon may have gotten a head start on the smart speaker market, but if a third-party analytics company is to be believed, Google is catching up fast.
According to data from Strategy Analytics, in Q1 (January through March) of 2017, Amazon was dominating the smart speaker market. The company shipped 2 million units in the period after the holiday shopping burst, taking 81.8% of the global market share. Meanwhile, in that same time period, Google shipped a relatively measly 300,000 units, taking 12.4% of the market share.
However, Google was apparently just getting started in 2017. At the time, the only Google Home available was the $130 full size model, and it wasn’t available outside of the US. By August of 2017, the company started selling in the U.K., Canada, Australia, France, and Germany. More importantly, in October the company launched the $50 Google Home Mini to compete with the similarly priced Echo Dot, finally bringing Google Home into the realm of the impulse buy.
The strategy paid off. In Q1 of 2018, Amazon sold 4 million units, while Google sold 2.4 million speakers. The overall market was growing dramatically, but this time Google wasn’t getting left behind. Both companies increased their sales by over two million units. This time, though, Amazon took 43.6% of the global market, while Google took 26.5%.
Overall this paints a healthy picture of smart speakers. Amazon and Google continue to make their platforms incredibly useful and people are responding to it. They may not be as common as smartphones just yet, but with millions of new speakers shipping every quarter, the likelihood that any given home has either an Alexa- or Google Assistant-enabled voice box inside only gets higher.
As a side note, it’s also worth pointing out there was a small spike in Apple smart speakers. Currently, Apple only has the HomePod, which is considerably more expensive than almost all of Google and Amazon’s speakers. Apple is a lot more focused on high-quality audio, than the do-everything home control strategy other companies are pursuing. Nevertheless, the company shipped around 600,000 speakers in Q1 of 2018 for about 6% of the global market. This is behind even Chinese-manufacturer Alibaba’s Mandarin-speaking smart speaker, so Apple isn’t playing with the big dogs just yet. Still, if Apple decides it wants to roll out a cheaper version later this year, it might be able to make the same kind of comeback Google made this year.