After the first quarter analysis of the wearable segment, Canalys now takes a look at the relatively new but disruptive smart speaker market globally. The total number of shipments reached 9 million in the first quarter of 2018, with year on year growth of 210 percent. Last year, the smart speaker segment managed to garner a total of 2.9 million shipments globally. Google has made giant leaps in this segment with a 483 percent growth year on year, shipping 3.2 million of its Google Home and Home Mini devices in the first quarter. Compared to last year Q1 results, where it held only 19.3 percent of the market share, this quarter that share rose to 36.2 percent.
Amazon on the other hand, shipped 2.5 million Echo devices. Even though year on year sales grew by 8 percent, Amazon's market share fell from nearly 79.6 percent in Q1 2017 to nearly 27.7 percent in Q1 2018. Alibaba was found to be in third place, with a 11.8 percent share of the market thanks to 1.1 million Tmall Genie shipments, and Xiaomi in fourth place, with a 7 percent share and 600,000 shipments of its Xiao Ai speakers. The Canalys report contradicts a report by Strategy Analytics for the same period, which found Amazon in the lead, Google second, and Alibaba third.
"Google has several advantages over Amazon that have helped it move ahead. But its biggest advantage is in the channel. Operators and retailers tend to prioritise Google's speakers over those from Amazon, as Amazon is in the tricky position of being a direct competitor. But Amazon is fighting back hard, and the sheer quantity of Alexa Skills and smart home integrations will be tough for any competitor to match," Canalys Analyst Ben Stanton said in the report.
Google Home's entry into the vast Indian market will also prove to be beneficial for the tech giant. The company launched its smart speakers in the country just last month, and a significant rise in numbers should be seen in the next quarter as well.
Out of the total 9 million units shipped in Q1 2018, 4.1 million were solely from United States. Vendors shipped 1.8 million smart speakers in China in the first quarter, while South Korea overtook the UK to become the third largest market with 730,000 shipments.