Google Home Overtakes Amazon Echo For First Time In Booming AI Smart Speaker Market

It looks as though Google is turning the corner with regards to its positioning in the growing AI smart speaker market. Ever since Google Home was first introduced in late 2016, it has played second fiddle to the dominant Amazon Echo family (which originally launched in late 2014). However, new sales numbers coming in this week from Canalys claim that Google Home sales have surpassed the Amazon Echo for the first time.

Canalys' numbers are for Q1 2018, during which Google reportedly shipped 3.2 million Google Home devices. Amazon, on the other hand, sold 2.5 million Echo devices during the same quarter. Google's performance represented a 483 percent increase year-over-year, while Amazon showed a more modest 8 percent year-over-year growth. 

Google Home
Google Home Max

Those numbers shouldn't be too surprising, as Google Home only entered the [U.S.] market in November 2016 and was still finding its footing by Q1 2017, whereas the Amazon Echo family had already been on the market for two years when the Google Home launched. In other words, Amazon's days of booming year-over-year growth are likely over.

According to Canalys, the overall smart speaker market grew 210 percent year-over-year from 2.9 million units in Q1 2017 to 9 million units during Q1 2018. 

echo 2
Amazon Echo (2nd Generation)

“Google has several advantages over Amazon that have helped it move ahead,” said Canalys Analyst Ben Stanton. “But its biggest advantage is in the channel. 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."

However, Canalys counters that Amazon has the advantage when it comes to the enormous number of Alexa Skills that are available compared to what competition offers. Interestingly enough, Canalys' report doesn't even mention the Apple HomePod, which sold just 600,000 units during Q1 2018 according to Strategy Analytics.

Google's smart speaker lineup consists of the Google Home, Google Home Mini and the Google Home Max. Amazon's family is much more extensive, and includes devices like the Echo Dot2nd generation EchoEcho Spot and Echo Show.