A Chinese tech giant has moved into what was largely a two-man competition in the category of smart speakers so far between Amazon and Google.
Amazon's place as the first shipper with its range of Alexa speakers is unmatched. But a new report from the tracking firm Canalys reveals a startling discovery: Baidu, which only serves Chinese consumers, actually shipped more smart speakers and display devices associated with the second quarter than Google , placing Google in third place worldwide.
Unfortunately for Google, this comes from the category of smart speakers expanded during the quarter, increasing 55.4% to now include 26.1 million units. Similarly, sales of this product in China are currently very tight. Canalys data shows that the country doubled its deliveries of smart speakers during the quarter, reaching 12.6 million units, more than double the US market deliveries of 6.1 million.
It should be noted that around the world, Baidu and Google numbers are interesting – although, as we said, Baidu focuses exclusively on China, the two companies do not overlap and serve completely different markets . However, the drop in shipments to the United States is probably worrying for this category, given the 2.4% drop. That's why, in the opinion of Jason Low, senior analyst at Canalys, "Amazon and Google are primarily looking to expand their business outside the United States." He adds that Google's transition to the Nest brand while opting for smart displays "has turned out to be a challenge, especially has begun to roll out its Nest Hub smart screen on a global scale."
Between the second quarter of 2018 and the second quarter of this year, Google's smart speaker shipments increased from 5.4 million to 4.3 million, representing an annual growth decrease of about 20%.
The Canalys assessment concludes with a recommendation that smart speaker publishers should discover new, more unique use cases for these products, while focusing on a powerful voice interface for smart displays.