Amazon spearheaded the connected home revolution with the launch of the original Amazon Echo back in November of 2014 – a whole two years before Google released its answer to Alexa-powered speaker. Over the last five years, Amazon has continued to regularly update its Echo lineup with new hardware, different form-factors, as well as a stream of new features via software updates.
It seems Amazon’s diligent work on its Echo smart speakers and smart displays has not gone unappreciated. In fact, a new report from market research company eMarketer claims the Seattle-based giant will continue to hold its strong lead over Google and Apple in terms of smart speaker marketshare in the United States for the next few years at least.
According to data, last year a whopping 72.9 percent of smart speakers used in the United States were an Amazon Echo. That figure looks set to dip to 69.7 percent this year and 68.2 percent in 2021.
In contrast, 31.1 percent of speaker owners were said to use a Google Home device last year. It’s expected the Mountain View firm will see its market share climb ever so slightly this year and in 2021 with market share predictions of 31.7 percent and 32 percent given by eMarketer, respectively.
eMarketer bundled in Apple’s smart speaker market share with all other smart speaker brands, including Harmon Kardon Invoke, and Sonos One and Sonos Beam in what it dubbed an “other” category. All in all, these brands were noted to make up 17.9 percent of smart speaker market share in 2019 with growth predictions to 18.4 percent and 18.8 percent in 2020 and 2021 respectively.
You may have noticed the percentage predictions offered by eMarketer tally up to over 100. That’s because some consumers have more than one brand of smart speaker – like an Amazon Echo in the kitchen, but a Sonos Beam in the living room beneath the TV, or HomePod somewhere else in the home.
The market research firm credited Amazon’s consistent release of new features for the Echo range as playing the biggest role in building its impressive US market share. eMarketer said: “Though Amazon wasn’t first-to-market with a voice assistant, it had first-mover advantage in smart speakers with its US introduction of the Echo and built-in voice assistant Alexa in late 2014. Since then, it has consistently released new features that make the speaker easier and more intuitive to use.
“It has also opened Alexa to outside development and fostered its compatibility with thousands of Amazon-branded and third-party smart-home devices.
“The Echo is, however, slightly less competitive in some countries because it supports fewer non-English languages than its major competitors.”
READ MORE: Google Home overtakes the Amazon Echo with this new upgrade
Going forward, eMarketer said it expects overall smart speaker growth to be “slow over the next several years”, primarily because the likes of Amazon are pushing for their virtual assistants to migrate to other kinds of devices, like home appliances and cars for example.
Discussing the future of the smart speaker market, eMarketer principal analyst Victoria Petrock said: “Smart speakers were designed as entry-level devices to get more people used to voice-controlled technology.
“Over time, we’ll see slowing growth in the number of smart speakers as people turn to voice assistants built into other things within homes, vehicles and on-the-go. Amazon’s next challenge will be to maintain its dominance in these other environments as well.”
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Written by David Minister
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