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Canalys Q1 smart speaker report finds China leading the pack

Canalys has released its report on the international smart speaker market’s first quarter of 2019. China was the big result in this report, overtaking the United States to be the largest smart speaker market. China secured a 51% share of the global smart speaker shipments, compared with 24% for the United States. The country showed nearly 500% on-year growth to reach 10.6 million units. China’s Q1 result also included 23% growth over its Q4 2019 performance.

The strong regional results were mostly driven by market increases from Baidu, one of China’s tech companies. It topped the local market thanks to heavy marketing and an exclusive sponsorship deal with national television channel CCTV around Chinese New Year’s Eve, according to Canalys.

“The lightning fast development in China is largely driven by vendors pouring in large amount of capital to achieve dominant share quickly,” Nicole Peng, vice president of mobility at Canalys. “This strategy is favored by internet service providers like Baidu, Alibaba and Tencent who are used to spending billions on traffic acquisition and know how to reach critical installed base fast.”

Despite a big surge from Baidu, Amazon and Google remained the top companies for global smart speaker shipments during the period. Amazon kept a Q1 2019 shipment market share of nearly a quarter (22.1%), while Google’s 16.8% kept it just ahead of Baidu at 16%.

Anna Washenko

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