Analysis

2018 is a happy new year for Amazon and smart speakers


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With Apple’s HomePod delayed to 2018, Amazon’s Echo range enjoyed a merry Christmas in 2017 “with tens of millions of Alexa-enabled devices sold worldwide”.

That’s according to its year-end press release, with the Echo Dot mini smart-speaker its best-selling Amazon device over the festive season.

“Music listening time on Alexa was 3x as much this holiday season compared to last holiday season,” added Amazon, while noting that in a single week, more than four million people started free trials or paid memberships of its Prime membership service.

Smart-speaker sales were strong generally: on Christmas Day, Amazon’s Alexa app was the most-downloaded free app on iOS in the US, with Google Home also going top-ten.

According to tech-industry body the Consumer Technology Association (CTA), sales of smart speakers in the US alone tripled in 2017 to nearly 25m units, including 11m in the final quarter.

The CTA organises the CES show, which gets underway in Las Vegas this weekend. Expect a number of new smart speakers from traditional consumer-tech companies to be on show, many using Amazon’s Alexa or Google’s Assistant for their smarts.

LG got in early, announcing that its Google-powered ThinQ Speaker will make its debut at the trade show. We’ll have news for you on the others next week.

Stuart Dredge

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