China Is Cornering The Smartspeaker Market
The research firm Canalysis is out with its global smartspeaker shipment totals for Q1, and let’s just say it’s China’s world now. During Q1’19 Chinese hardware companies shipped 10.6M units, which is 51% of the total global sales. By comparison the US’s share dropped to 24% on 5.0M units shipped. Overall the global smartspeaker market grew by an astounding 131% YoY on the strength of 20.7M units sold.
The Chinese jump in Q1 was mostly driven by an internet provider called Baidu (don’t worry, I haven’t heard of them either). Baidu had a huge quarter thanks to an exclusive sponsorship with China’s national TV channel for its Chinese New Year’s Gala — which commanded an audience of 1.2 billion during the show. The in-show promotion prompted users to download the Baidu app, which distributed more than 100 million smartspeaker coupons to viewers. 3.3M of the coupon recipients bought a smartspeaker which drive Baidu’s shipments through the roof. Interestingly, Baidu’s core business isn’t even smartspeaker hardware. They just want to distribute as many speakers as possible (even at a breakeven) with Baidu set as the default browser.
Of the American manufacturers only Amazon showed growth, with a healthy +85% YoY increase. Google grew by a paltry 7%, and Apple didn’t even sell enough HomePod speakers to qualify for its own line in the Canalysis report.
So yes, it’s fast becoming a Chinese smartspeaker world . . . and we’re just living in it.