How the release of Google, Amazon and Apple’s latest smart speakers have shifted the market share in favour of Google Nest over Amazon Echo.
When it comes to smart assistants and smart speakers, the three top players are Amazon with their Alexa-enabled Echo speakers, Google with their Google Assistant-enabled Nest speakers, and Apple with their Siri-enabled HomePod speakers. Unfortunately none of these companies share their official sales numbers on their smart speakers, however research firm Omdia has estimated the latest figures for the US.
Being first to the game, along with a broad coverage of different sizes and prices, and consistent updates, Amazon’s Echo smart speakers have held the top spot in the US for some years now. According to Omdia, Amazon’s reign may be over, with Google taking the lead.
Omdia estimates Google shipped over 4.1 million smart speakers in Q2 2021 in the US, representing a 47.8% year-over-year growth. Amazon is said to have shipped more than 3.3 million, representing a decline of 31.3% compared to the second quarter of 2020.
In Q2 2021, Apple shipped over 2.4 million Siri-enabled speakers. While this is notably less than the competition, a 180% increase is not to be scoffed at. In Q2 2020 under one million original, now discontinued, HomePods were sold. This recent spike is thanks to the successful launch of the cheaper HomePod mini in October last year. Omdia also says “The discontinuation of the original HomePod may have contributed to the spike in growth, as Apple enthusiasts rushed to buy the remaining stock.”
Despite this, Omdia claims Amazon is still ahead for the first half of 2021 overall, with a 42% market share against Google’s 37% and Apple’s 21%. For comparison, Apple’s market share in the first half of 2020 was just 9.6%.
Omdia notes that quarter-over-quarter shipments for smart speakers in the US has declined by 27%. Now that household penetration in the US is nearly at 60%, smart speaker sales have slowed. New product designs with additional features, as well as display units can help sales going forward. Omdia says Apple may need to release a smart speaker with a display to remain competitive against Amazon and Google. The majority of smart speaker owners are likely to remain in their ecosystem, so that all additional speakers can communicate with each other, however Apple could pull in existing Amazon and Google customers with tight integration from Apple products, such as iPhones and Macs.