According to CIRP's analysis of the U.S. market, there was a total installed base of 66 million smart speakers during Q4 2018. Of that total, Amazon accounted for a commanding 70 percent of installs with its Echo family of smart speakers according to the research firm.
The Google Home family of smart speakers was in a distant second place with 24 percent of the growing market. Bringing up the rear was Apple, with just 6 percent of the market.
"Amazon and Google both have broad model lineups, ranging from basic to high-end, with even more variants from Amazon," said CIRP co-founder Josh Lowitz. "Apple of course has only its premium-priced HomePod, and likely won't gain significant share until it offers an entry-level product closer to Echo Dot and Home Mini."
The numbers shouldn't be too terribly surprising to our readers, given Amazon's early entry into the field, the thousands of Alexa skills that are available, and its unmatched compatibility with smart devices. In addition, Amazon and its retail partners were giving away third-generation Echo Dot like candy with smart device bundle offers during the 2018 holiday shopping season. And for those that were making standalone purchases, the Echo Dot could be had for as little as $19.99 during the holidays making it an attractive buy (especially as a gift).
Google also ran promotions on its Google Home devices, particularly the Home Mini which was priced at around $25 for the holidays, which increased its fortunes during the fourth quarter.
However, Apple was always going to have an uphill battle with its HomePod, which is priced at a whopping $349. Apple touts the superior audio quality of its HomePod speakers, but for those that simply want a cheap voice assistant around the house that can call out weather, sports scores or control your smart devices, Apple doesn't have a low-cost option for customers.