We reported earlier this week on figures suggesting that the cheaper tier of western smart speakers – Google Home Mini and Amazon Echo Dot – were an increasingly-important part of this market. Now research firm Strategy Analytics has backed that up, with its figures for global smart-speaker shipments in the second quarter of this year.
It claims that Google Home Mini was the top-selling (or rather: top-shipping) smart speaker in Q2 with 2.3m units, giving it a 20% market-share that quarter. The Echo Dot was close behind with 2.2m shipments (an 18% share), with Amazon’s main Echo (1.4m shipments / 12% share) in third. Strategy Analytics sees Alibaba’s Tmail Genie and Google’s main Home speaker level on 800k shipments and a 7% share apiece, with the rest of the total market accounting for 4.3m shipments in Q2.
Overall, that means 11.7m smart speakers shipped last quarter. What about Apple’s HomePod? Strategy Analytics reckons that it took a 6% share last quarter (so around 700k units), but accounted for 16% of wholesale revenues – and 70% of shipments of smart speakers costing more than $200. “The Google Home Mini and Amazon Echo Dot accounted for a combined 38% of global shipments although they contributed just 17% towards the value of the market due to their low price,” explained SA’s smart speakers expert David Watkins.
This is clearly not a worry for Google or Amazon, whose competition in this market is all about getting their speakers (or, more accurately, their voice assistants) into as many homes and as many rooms in those homes – as well as smartphones and cars related to them – as possible, as quickly as possible. Alongside this trend, some of the most popular use cases may shift around a bit: while ‘listening to music’ has consistently been the biggest activity on smart speakers, that may change as the cheaper models take precedence.
That said, we shouldn’t forget the other trend around smart speakers and voice assistants, which is the fact that music-playing hardware firms of all stripes are adding smarts to their new products – often via Alexa or Google Assistant integrations. So while it’s possible that a growing percentage of ‘smart speakers’ won’t really be used for music much, it’s also true that a growing percentage of all music-playing devices will have voice control and smart assistants.