More people are purchasing Google Home devices than Amazon's competing Echo products when shopping for a smart speaker, according to estimated data sales compiled by market research firm Canalys. Google now sits in the top spot of the worldwide smart speaker market in terms of growth, and appears to benefiting the most from what has become a boom market.
The smart speaker market grew a staggering 187 percent the second quarter of 2018, with shipments reaching a combined 16.8 million units, compared to 5.8 million units in the same quarter a year ago. Google's Home smart speaker line accounted for 5.4 million of those of shipments, while Amazon came in second place with 4.1 million Echo device shipments.
It is an interesting trend, given that digital assistants are now commonplace and ubiquitous among modern smartphone models. However, Amazon correctly surmised though would be a market for smart speakers when its initial Echo product seemingly came out of nowhere. Since then, several other manufacturers have jumped aboard the bandwagon.
For the most part, smart speakers are affordable, particularly products like the Echo Dot and Home Mini. Frequent sales undoubtedly have also bolstered sales. Pricing is not the only factor, though.
"Many players, including Amazon, are integrating smart speakers into verticals, such as hotels, retail, hospitals, and other business establishments," said Jason Low, senior analyst at Canalys. "On the other hand, vendors are experimenting with new form factors and functionalities with smart speakers."
Low pointed to network operators in South Korea integrating smart speakers into set-top boxes as one example. Looking ahead, Low says hardware makers will shift their focus to new ways of fully utilizing digital assistants, which could require a new form of hardware medium beyond smart speakers.