Research firm Canalys has released a new report with projections for smart speaker sales this year. It anticipates that the global install base for the product category will increase 82.4% from 114 million units in 2018 to 207.9 million units in 2019. The company forecast that smart speakers would have a larger audience than tablets by 2021.
The report pegs the United States to remain the biggest market for smart speakers with a 42.2% share of the install base thanks to expected 46% growth. Mainland China is likely to lead the international growth rates at 166%. The number of smart speakers in the country are expected to rise from 22.4 million units in 2018 to 59.9 million in 2019. China could prove to be a compelling location for international tech companies, such as Google and Amazon, that have not yet launched in that already-active market.
Other East Asian markets are projected to see strong increases in their install bases over 2019, with South Korea anticipated to grow 132% and Japan to rise 131%.
“The growing installed base of smart speakers is an opportunity to create new business models and to drive profit beyond music and audio content streaming services,” Canalys Senior Analyst Jason Low said. “Smart assistants are becoming a conduit to offer services, such as assisted living, healthcare and government services. Smart speakers and smart displays are relatively new device categories for service entities, and platform vendors have a responsibility to ensure that partners and developers know how to use them and their smart assistants to get the most value out of every interaction with end users.”