The latest report on smart-speaker sales and ownership is out, from Consumer Intelligence Report Partners (CIRP), and focused on the US market. The big number: a claimed install base of 76m units in the US, which is up from 70m at the end of March, and 66m at the end of December 2018.
One thing that hasn’t changed since the end of last year: the market share of the dominant player. CIRP estimates that Amazon still holds a 70% share of that install base in the US, with Google on 25% and Apple on 5%. Co-founder Josh Lowitz suggested that it’s still the cheaper speakers, like Amazon’s Echo Dot and Google’s Home Mini, that are driving the market.
“Continued aggressive pricing of the entry-level models seems to continue to encourage new customers to try a smart speaker and existing owners to consider adding more devices to their home,” said Lowitz in a statement. The company reckons that more than half of Echo and Google Home owners have the cheapest model in the range.
The bigger picture is positive: Q4 is traditionally the monster quarter for smart-speaker sales, in the run-up to Christmas, so the fact that the US install-base is estimated to have grown quarter-on-quarter by 6% in Q1 and 8.6% in Q2 is an encouraging sign. Another research firm, Canalys, predicted earlier this year that by the end of 2019, there’ll be 207.9m smart speakers in use globally, with 42.2% of them – 87.7m units – in the US.
Remember, though, that the US may be the leading smart-speakers market, but it’s not the only big one. Canalys also predicted that the install-base in China will reach 59.9m units by the end of 2019, with the same company also claiming that Chinese shipments actually overtook the US in the first quarter of this year, with Baidu, Alibaba and Xiaomi snapping at Google’s heels in the chart of top manufacturers globally.