Report: Smart Speaker Sales Hit a Record 86 Million Units in Q4 2018

Posted on February 20, 2019 by Paul Thurrott in Smart Home with 20 Comments

A new report from Strategy Analytics says that smart speaker sales hit a new record in the holiday quarter of 2018, with 86.2 million units sold, a gain of 98 percent over the 38.5 million units sold in the year-ago quarter. That quarterly figure is also higher than the total number of smart speakers sold in all of 2017.

“Smart speakers were the hottest consumer electronics product in 2018,” the firm claims. “Amazon and Google enjoyed a particularly strong quarter thanks to the popularity of their low-cost Echo Dot and Home Mini speakers and both companies recorded quarter-on-quarter increases in market share. [But] Apple’s HomePod … market share fell.”

According to Strategy Analytics, Amazon and Google together combined for over 65 percent of all smart speakers sold in the quarter, and Google again gained a lot of ground on Amazon. The online retailer narrowly edged out Google with 13.7 million units sold, good for 35.5 percent market share and 91 YOY growth. But Google grew by 123 percent and sold 11.5 million units, arriving at 30 percent market share. Google’s results are all the more impressive when you consider that it lacks the built-in retail sales engine that Amazon enjoys with its online store.

Three Asia-based firms—Alibaba, Baidu, and Xiaomi—landed in third, fourth, and fifth place, respectively, each with low single-digit market share. Apple fell to 6th place, with its vaunted HomePod selling just 1.6 million units and garnering 4.1 percent market share. A year ago, when HomePod first launched, it controlled 4.9 percent of the market.

Strategy Analytics’ numbers include smart display sales, and the firm specifically called out this new class of device a few times in its report.

“Smart speakers and smart displays were once again the most sought-after tech products this past holiday season and we estimate that more than 60 million households worldwide now own at least one device,” Strategy Analytics director David Watkins said. “Smart displays such as Google’s Home Hub, Amazon’s Echo Show and Baidu’s Xiaodu Zaijia are proving popular with consumers who are attracted by the combination of audio and visual stimulus and the wider range of use cases compared to speaker only devices. Smart displays made up more than 10 percent of total shipment demand in Q4 2018 and they are expected to be a significant driver of growth in the market through 2019.”

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