The smart speaker market continues to grow by leaps and bounds, according to the latest data from Strategy Analytics (via Apple Insider). For the fourth quarter of 2018, the three-month period from October to December, global smart speaker shipments increased by 95% in one year, reaching 38.5 million units. This quarter alone exceeded device shipments for the full year 2017. In 2018, 86.2 million speakers were shipped worldwide.
The smart speaker market is a two-horse race at the moment. Amazon created the category with its Echo devices and remained in the lead in the fourth quarter. The company sold 123.7 million units, a market share of 35.5%. But it's better not to look back, because Google is more and more present with its Home range of smart speakers. For the fourth quarter, Google held 30% of the market, with 11.5 million units sold during the period. Google also saw its shipments increase 123% over the third quarter, surpassing Amazon (91% sequential growth rate).
Apple's HomePod recorded a decent but not spectacular quarter, with unit units delivered up 45 percent from the third quarter. However, Apple still ranks sixth with 1.6 million HomePods delivered from October to December, giving Apple a 4.1% share of the smart speaker chip. Apple is currently looking for Alibaba, Baidu and Xiaomi, the third, fourth and fifth speaker manufacturers respectively in the quarter.
Apple is handicapped because it sells only one smart speaker model, and at its catalog price of $ 349, it is quite expensive. Amazon and Google both offer a range of devices starting at $ 50. And occasionally, Amazon Echo Dot and Google Home Mini are available for sale for as little as $ 25.
The key to the continued growth of the smart speaker market is penetration. Last month, we reported data from a report that only 21 percent of US adults own a smart speaker. This could indicate that there is more growth coming for this product.