Google Starts to Catch Up to Amazon in Smart Speakers, While Apple Still Lags

google starts to catch up to amazon in smart speakers while apple still lags

The smart speaker market continues to show signs of robust category growth as consumers snap up the devices and adoption keeps marching steadily higher. There are now an estimated 43 million smart speaker owners in the U.S., according to recent estimates from NPR and Edison Research. This is a booming market that consumer hardware manufacturers do not want to miss out on; Samsung unveiled its Bixby-powered Galaxy Home just last week, for instance, although the South Korean conglomerate did not detail pricing or availability.

We’re talking about a market that just tripled in the second quarter.

Echo on a kitchen counter

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The market soared to 11.7 million units in Q2

Strategy Analytics has just released its estimates on the smart speaker market for the second quarter, and growth accelerated compared to Q1. (NASDAQ: AMZN) saw its market share decline significantly as Alphabet (NASDAQ: GOOG) (NASDAQ: GOOGL) subsidiary Google was able to capture a bigger slice of the growing pie. The search giant has thus far emerged as the most viable competitor to the e-commerce behemoth, mostly because both companies offer a diverse portfolio of smart speaker products that span the pricing spectrum.


Q2 2017 Shipments

Q2 2017 Market Share

Q2 2018 Shipments

Q2 2018 Market Share


2.9 million


4.8 million





3.2 million



















1.9 million



3.9 million


11.7 million


Data source: Strategy Analytics. Figures rounded.

Amazon and Google still maintain a strong grip on the market, commanding a combined market share of 69%. That’s down from 92% a year ago, but still impressive nonetheless. The Chinese market is starting to blow up, too, dominated by local brands like Alibaba, JD, and Baidu. Amazon and Google won’t have any luck capturing any of that growth directly, though Google recently invested in JD, so it may enjoy some of JD’s upside on paper.

Apple (NASDAQ: AAPL) shipped an estimated 700,000 units in the second quarter, up from the 600,000 that Strategy Analytics previously estimated the Mac maker had shipped in Q1. That would add up to 1.3 million HomePods shipped so far this year following the device’s launch in February. Apple was able to establish a lead in the premium segment of the market, thanks to its intensely loyal customer base and growing subscriber base for Apple Music, according to Strategy Analytics. However, it’s also clear that HomePod’s premium price point is limiting demand.

Strategy Analytics expects the premium segment of the market to grow from here, which is good news for Apple. While the Galaxy Home isn’t officially priced yet, expectations are for that device to be priced in the ballpark of $300, positioning it as a premium product that will compete directly with HomePod.

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John Mackey, CEO of Whole Foods Market, an Amazon subsidiary, is a member of The Motley Fool’s board of directors. Suzanne Frey, an executive at Alphabet, is a member of The Motley Fool’s board of directors. Evan Niu, CFA owns shares of BABA and Apple. The Motley Fool owns shares of and recommends Alphabet (A shares), Alphabet (C shares), Amazon, Apple, BIDU, and JD. The Motley Fool has the following options: long January 2020 $150 calls on Apple and short January 2020 $155 calls on Apple. The Motley Fool has a disclosure policy.

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