Smart Speaker 220

There’s just no slowing down this train. Shipments of smart speakers continue to grow by double digits, up a hefty 55% in second quarter 2019 to reach 26 million units globally, according to a new forecast by Canalys.

Amazon continues to lead worldwide shipments with 6.6 million of its Echo speakers. The big news for global sales is an increase to second place of 4.5 million units by Baidu—which sells only in China—to command 17.3% of the market, to Amazon’s 25.4%. In all, smart speaker shipments in China reached 13 million units, more than twice as many as the U.S. market, which stands at 6.1 million devices—representing a “slight weakness,” Canalys says.

Google Home is third, with a Q2 increase of 4.3 million units, for a 16.7% share of smart speakers. Alibaba (14.1%) and Xiaomi (10.8%) are next, followed by “others.” Apple does not even rank by name.

Looking at the slight downturn in the U.S., Canalys Senior Analyst Jason Low notes that Amazon and Google are shifting their focus to grow business in other territories. “Google’s transition to the Nest branding while pivoting to smart displays proved to be a challenge, especially as it has begun to roll out its Nest Hub smart display globally. Google urgently requires a revamped non-display smart speaker portfolio to rekindle consumer interest, as well as a robust marketing strategy to build its Nest branding outside of the U.S.”

Edison Research reported earlier this year that its survey of monthly podcast listeners found 10% said the smart speaker is where they most often listen to shows. That compares to 65% for smartphones and 25% for desktop computers and laptops. But many podcasters say smart speakers represent even less of their listening than that figure suggests.