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Canalys: China’s Baidu now holds second place in global smart speaker shipments

Canalys has been tracking shipments of smart speakers for the past several years, and its report on the second quarter of 2019 revealed a shakeup in leading brands. Amazon remained the top brand with 6.6 million units shipped for its Echo line securing 25.4% market share. Baidu, based in China, took over the second spot with 4.5 million units, besting the 4.3 million units from Google. Thanks to a skyrocketing 3,700% on-year growth in shipments, Baidu’s market share is now 17.3%. Two other Chinese brands, Alibaba and Xiaomi, posted shipments of 4.1 million and 2.8 million, respectively, to secure the fourth and fifth spots.

China has been a noteworthy source of growth for smart speakers over the past year. The nation saw 12.6 million shipments of smart speakers in the period, compared with 6.1 million units in the United States.

“Aggressive mareting and go-to-market campaigns build strong momentum for Baidu in China,” Canalys Research Analyst Cynthia Chen said. “The vendor stood out as a key driver of smart displays, to achieve 45% smart display product mix in its Q2 shipments.” Chen added that Baidu doesn’t have much competition for smart displays.

“Amazon and Google are focused on growing their business outside the U.S.,” added Jason Low, a senior analyst for Canalys. “Google’s transition to the Nest branding while pivoting to smart displays proved to be a challenge, especially as it has begun rolling out its Nest Hub smart display globally. Google urgently requires a revamped non-display smart speaker portfolio to rekindle consumer interest, as well as a robust marketing strategy to build its Nest branding outside of the U.S.”

Amazon has increased the share of its smart speaker shipments outside of the United States in the past year, as shown in the chart. Just half of its sales are now in the U.S., meaning about 3.3 million Echo shipments were to other markets. Google’s non-U.S. shipments also rose, but just from 42% to 55%.

Anna Washenko

2 Comments

  1. People don’t buy cheap tinny Google, Baidu and Alexa smart “speakers” for their audio quality – they buy them for the voice assistant. However, smart speaker sales are utterly dwarfed by smartphone, computer and smartwatch sales and in those terms Apple has 1.5 billion Apple devices that put Siri on the wrists, pockets, laps and desks of the most lucrative demographic in the world both in and outside the home.

    As a result, Siri dominates the Voice Assistant market in terms of actual usage to the tune of 45.6% marketshare compared to Google Assistant on 28.7%, Alexa on 13.2%, Samsung’s Bixby on 6.2% and Microsoft’s Cortana on 4.9%.

    As such, these smart speaker stats are very misleading as they miss the elephant in the room, the fact that Amazon, Baidu and Google Assistant-enabled devices are trailing far behind Apple’s Siri ecosystem.

    • Not sure how accurate these stats are. There are 2.5 Android devices out there, so that’s significantly more devices with Google Assistant than anyone else.

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