While Amazon.com Inc.’s Alexa-enabled smart-home devices are still first in market share by a large margin, that share is slipping.
New research from technology research firm Strategy Analytics finds that Amazon shipped 4 million of its voice-activated, Alexa-powered speakers such as its Echo, Echo Dot and Echo Spot in the first quarter, accounting for about 43.0% of the 9.2 million total smart speaker shipments during the period. However, its market share has nearly halved from Q1 of 2017, when it was 81.8%.
Google Inc. and Alibaba Group Holding Ltd. ranked No. 2 and No. 3 for smart speaker market share. Google shipped 2.4 million of its smart speakers in the quarter, accounting for 26.5% of shipments, and Alibaba shipped 700,000, accounting for 7.6%. Apple Inc. ranked fourth with 600,000 smart speakers shipped, accounting for 6% of the market.
“Amazon and Google accounted for a dominant 70% share of global smart speaker shipments in Q1 2018 although their combined share has fallen from 84% in Q4 2017 and 94% in the year ago quarter,” says David Watkins, director at Strategy Analytics. “This is partly a result of strong growth in the Chinese market for smart speakers where both Amazon and Google are currently absent. Alibaba and Xiaomi are leading the way in China, and their strength in the domestic market alone is proving enough to propel them into the global top five.”
In total, the global smart speaker market has grown year over year to 9.2 million shipments in Q1 2018 from 2.4 million shipments in Q1 2017.
While Amazon may be the clear leader, last week it encountered negative consumer feedback after it was found that an Alexa device had recorded a private conversation a married Oregon couple were having about hardwood floors.
Amazon said a series of miscues picked up by one of its voice-activated Echo speakers during the couple’s private conversation resulted in the chat being recorded and sent to one of their acquaintances without their knowledge.
The retail giant responded Wednesday to a KIRO 7 news report that the pair got a phone call recently from the acquaintance, one of the husband’s employees, saying “unplug your Alexa devices right now. You’re being hacked.” The Portland couple used Amazon’s voice-activated devices throughout their home to control heat, lights and security, according to the news report.
Amazon explained the series of events that triggered the episode in an emailed statement. The Echo woke after hearing a word in the couple’s conversation that sounded like “Alexa”—the usual trigger to begin recording. The speaker later heard “send message” during the conversation, at which point the device asked, “to whom?” The pair continued talking in the background, and the Echo’s system interpreted part of the chat to identify a name in the couple’s contact list. Alexa then asked aloud if they wanted to send a message to that contact and heard “right” in more background conversation.
“As unlikely as this string of events is, we are evaluating options to make this case even less likely,” Amazon said.
Amazon is No. 1 in the newly released 2018 Internet Retailer Top 1000.
Bloomberg contributed to this report.Favorite