Smart speakers continue their popularity, with nine million units shipped in Q1 2018, representing a 210 percent jump over Q1 2017, according to Canalys. In a first, global shipments of Google Home speakers surpassed those of Amazon’s popular Echo speakers. “Google shipped 3.2 million Home and Home Mini devices, versus 2.5 million Echo devices shipped by Amazon,” reports VentureBeat. “Google held an estimated 36.2 percent share for the quarter over Amazon’s 27.7 percent — a profound reversal from a year earlier, when Amazon had 79.6 percent of shipments to Google’s 19.3 percent.”
“Operators and retailers tend to prioritize Google’s speakers over those from Amazon, as Amazon is in the tricky position of being a direct competitor,” said Canalys analyst Ben Stanton. “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.”
Chinese companies Alibaba and Xiaomi followed behind Google and Amazon (due primarily to significant domestic shipments), while Apple’s HomePod has yet to make the top four in terms of global shipments. HomePod, however, which began shipments in Q1, reached third in the United States.
According to the Canalys data, Alibaba shipped 1.1 million Tmall Genie speakers during the first quarter and Xiaomi shipped 600,000 Xiao AI devices.
In addition to the U.S. and U.K., smart speaker markets are expanding in areas such as China, India and South Korea.