Speakers are no longer just ways to listen to music; they're often home to helpful AI personalities like Alexa and Google Assistant. Smart speakers are big business these days, and market analysis firm Canalys has a new report that shows just how big. According to Canalys, Google, Xiaomi, and Alibaba all saw massive worth in smart speakers in 2018 vs. 2017. Amazon, however, saw a more modest rise.
You might not think of Xiaomi and Alibaba as big players in smart speakers, but they focus primarily on markets where Google does not. Alibaba was up 815.5% in 2018, and Xiaomi grew 8,744.3%. These numbers are not terribly informative because both forms had barely started pushing smart speakers in 2017. Still, Xiaomi and Alibaba now own 9.1% and 11.4% of the smart speaker market, respectively.
Google didn't have the largest year-over-year growth because it was already moving a lot of speakers in 2017. It grew 109.6% from 11.2m to 23.4m shipments. That gives Google a 30% share of the smart speaker market. In 2017, Amazon was far in the lead with 22 million smart speaker shipments. However, it only saw a 10.1% increase in 2018. That puts it just slightly ahead of Google with 24.2 million shipments for a 31.1% market share. Canalys notes that Amazon's Echo refresh in 2018 saved it from being overtaken by Google, but 2019 might paint a different picture.