"ALEXA, WHAT WAS the best selling smart speaker of Q2 2018?" asks Jeff Bezos, treating his gold-plated special edition Amazon Echo like the mirror in Snow White. He won't like the answer: Google has a slight advantage on Amazon in the Q2 sales charts, although you could probably say financial prudence was the real winner as the cheap speakers won the day.
Yes, the cheapest smart speakers were by far the best selling, according to Strategy Analytics. Around 2.3 million Google Home Mini units were shifted in the three-month period, compared to 2.2 million Amazon Echo Dots - that's a market share of 20 per cent and 18 per cent, respectively.
Next up is the full-sized Amazon Echo, which sold 1.4 million units for a 12 per cent slice of the eavesdropping-speaker pie. Rounding up the list is the Alibaba Tmall Genie and the regular Google Home, both on 800k units and 7 per cent of the market apiece.
Yes, that means that between them, Google and Amazon have well over half the smart speaker market.
Still, the mathematicians amongst you will have figured out that this leaves 36 per cent of the market unclaimed, and taking 6 per cent of that is the Apple HomePod. That may sound disappointing, but there's definitely a positive spin for Cook & Co: the HomePod took 16 per cent of the overall smart speaker revenue, and has a pretty unassailable 70 per cent slice of the $200+ smart speaker pie.
That's probably quite a good place to be in the long run. People seem to be buying the cheaper speakers to test the concept, before looking to upgrade to something with better sound. For the Echo Dot, that's as simple as connecting another speaker, but for reasons known to nobody but Google, the Home Mini cheaped out and skipped on the audio jack.
Maybe this is all part of the master plan to get them to upgrade to the £399 Google Home Max. µ
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