This past year proved to be a major stepping stone for smart speakers as the adoption rate spiked precipitously over 2016. That was just the beginning according to Canalysis, with 2018 being the “defining year” for smart speakers as momentum reaches new heights.
In 2017, smart speakers sales reached over 30 million buoyed by Amazon’s slew of Echo devices (accounting for over 20 million of the smart speakers sold in the year) and the expanding Google Home line. This coming year, the number of devices offered will continue to grow as Amazon and Google diversify the products they offer and a number of new players enter the market, including Apple with the HomePod.
“While 2017 has been a banner year for smart speakers in terms of hardware sales, especially for Google and Amazon, smart speakers in 2018 will move beyond hardware, with strategic attempts to monetize the growing installed base in the U.S. and beyond,” opined Canalysis analyst Lucio Chen. “The possibilities to do this are endless, be it discreet advertising, content subscription bundles, premium services or enterprise solutions. The technology is still in transition, and increased investments from multiple players of the ecosystem will fuel growth.”
Canalysis is predicting smart speaker sales to reach 56.3 million in 2018, nearly doubling the numbers of 2017. The United States is expected to be the most important market for smart speakers, with 38.4 million shipments expected. China will come in at a distant second place with 4.4 million smart speaker shipments.
That should come as no surprise given how wildly popular Amazon Echo devices are in the U.S. and that won’t be changing in 2018. Look for Google and Apple to make a big push to put a dent in Amazon’s smart speaker dominance.