As the smart speaker market continues to grow, so does the competition. But what if your competitor ships to just one market and yet still sells more than you who’s selling practically everywhere? That’s the dilemma that Google is finding itself in as they slipped to number 3 in the smart speaker market for the second quarter in 2019. It’s now Chinese brand that is 2nd even if China is the only market they currently serve. Amazon still tops the list having shipped 6.6 million of its Echo devices.
The list published by Canalys shows that Baidu grew by 3700% in the second quarter of 2019, shipping 4.5 million units just in China. While this is pretty huge in terms of numbers and ranking (if you care about that thing), it’s still pretty insignificant since Baidu and Google “operate in mutually exclusive markets” anyway. Still, it’s pretty obvious that the former doesn’t have any serious competitor in its market hence their domination. That also means other Chinese players have an opportunity there, if they can match the aggressive marketing stance of Baidu.
Google meanwhile showed an annual “growth” of -19.8%, shipping just 4.3 million units in Q2. One thing that may have contributed to this is some branding issues as they transitioned to Nest even while rolling out their smart display devices. Canalys Senior Analyst Jason Low suggests a “revamped non-display smart speaker portfolio” as well as a marketing strategy for their Nest branding, particularly outside of the U.S.
Amazon is still the top brand when it comes to smart speakers and they showed a pretty impressive annual growth of 61.1%, shipping 6.6 million units in Q2 2019. Like Google, they have been focusing on growing outside of the U.S., which may be a pretty good move. The US market declined 2.4% this quarter, with just 6.1 million units shipped. The challenge now for them, as well as other vendors, is the expected pivot to more “complex” devices, including displays.
Low also said that the price sensitivity towards the display category is crucial as vendors are experimenting with price points as well as value propositions. He suggests that their top priority should be a strong focus on voice-first interface on smart displays.
August 26, 2019 at 08:16PM