Smart speaker adoption is expected to continue its rapid growth in the coming years, with Business Insider tipping in the US alone, the number of installed devices will quadruple by 2024.
In Australia, the arrival of smart speakers might have lagged a little behind, but new statistics show local adoption is no less enthusiastic with devices installed nearly tripling since 2017. That’s only likely to further increase as Australia rides the smart home wave.
So, Hey Alexa and Google, what’s the future of smart speakers?
Business Insider this week released a report examining smart speaker adoption and future trends in the US.
They noted at the start of this year there were 120 million smart speakers installed in homes throughout America. But that figure is expected to quadruple within the next five years, with 500 million smart speakers predicted to be in US homes by 2024.
In Australia, research firm Telsyte found smart speaker adoption had more than doubled between 2017 and 2018, rising from 538,000 installed devices in 2017 (or six per cent of Australian households) to 1.6 million smart speakers in late 2018 (16 per cent of Australian households).
It’s further predicted this local figure will rise rapidly, with two of the major smart speaker players (Amazon Echo and Apple HomePod) only becoming available in Australia last year.
Business Insider notes in the US, devices powered by Amazon’s Alexa AI voice assistant make up the largest proportion of smart speakers, and that’s likely to continue in the years ahead. Although they do note Google is now making an increasing impact.
Meanwhile, research firm eMarketer also highlights the increasing popularity of Amazon alternatives.
They predict this year Amazon Echo will capture 63.3 per cent of smart speaker users, while the Google Home will account for 31.0 per cent.
“Smaller players, such as the Sonos One and Apple HomePod, will take 12.0 per cent,” they predict.
They further anticipate Amazon’s market share will reduce in the coming years as competitors start to grow.
“Consumers in the market for a smart speaker have more options than ever, and Amazon will lose some of its majority share as a result,” eMarketer forecasting analyst Jaimie Chung reflected.
“Google has the Home Mini and Home Hub to compete with Amazon’s Echo Dot and Echo Show, and both the Apple HomePod and Facebook Portal will experience their first holiday season this year.
“Amazon has remained relevant by plugging Alexa into premium speakers like the Sonos, but even Sonos plans to bring Google Assistant to its devices next year, keeping the two companies neck and neck in the voice assistant race.”
In Australia, the landscape is markedly different, with Google-powered devices leading the smart speaker charge. Google Home was the first major speaker to become available locally, hitting the market here in 2017, and that has given it a distinct advantage.
Telsyte notes Google currently holds a 72 per cent market share down under.
Meanwhile, Google has also actively been courting new smart speaker customers, with the recent release of a display-style speaker known as Google Home Hub. At CES this year, Google was also keen to make an impact, announcing Google Assistant would be in 1 billion devices by the end of the month – from phones to smart speakers and household appliances.
While smart speaker adoption will likely increase at a rapid rate for the next five years. Business Insider tips it may taper off from there as more and more appliances build voice control directly into smart home devices.
“The standalone smart speaker will continue to be a hub device for homes, but many of the premium devices sold will be multipurpose speakers, more along the lines of the Amazon Echo Plus, Echo Show, or the Google Home Hub than the base Echo or Google Home,” Business Insider tips.
“And while consumers will likely continue to purchase cheaper devices like the Echo Dot — and upgrade their existing ones — more and more of these devices will be replaced by connected things around the house, such as clocks and lamps with built-in microphones.
“Both Amazon and Google are emphasizing their respective partner programs, which will help to spread their voice assistants more widely while limiting the extent to which they need to depart from their comfort zones and build hardware for the consumer market.”
In many ways that’s already happening with this year’s CES highlighting a host of new smart products and appliances with Alexa and Google Assistant already built-in.
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