The smart speaker base will reach 100 million in 2018, achieving almost 2.5x growth from 2017, and will touch 225 million units by 2020, Canalys said in its forecast report.
Amazon Echo will have more than 50 percent share in the global smart speaker market in 2018. Google’s Home series will account for 30 percent. Apple’s HomePod models will account for 4 percent.
Amazon and Google know the power of an ecosystem lock-in and have been engaged in a price war to try and build the largest installed base.
Amazon and Google will take their devices beyond the smart home and deploy them in a range of new scenarios. Their business development teams are targeting commercial opportunities, such as hotels, offices, gyms and airports.
Amazon’s Alexa for Business and Alexa for Hospitality are the prime examples for targeting enterprise space.
“These deployments are a major opportunity for the IT channel to develop solutions and provide technical skills and services that customers may lack,” Canalys Research Analyst Vincent Thielke said.
China is still a nascent market for smart speakers. Local players, such as Alibaba and Xiaomi, are investing heavily in developing smart speakers. Chinese vendors will expand their product portfolios to hit more price points and offer a greater range of capabilities.
“China has massive potential, with more than 450 million households, over three times the number in the US,” Canalys Research Analyst Hattie He said.
Amazon and Google are trying to prove the scale and reach of their platforms to developers.
Developers are investing in voice and try to cash-in on the creation of new experiences.
Developers’ attention will determine the expansion of smart speakers into new demographics, move into new industry verticals and gain traction in new countries, Canalys Analyst Ben Stanton said.