The US no longer leads the market for smart speaker gadget as the Chinese market saw a 500% percent rise in Q1 of 2019 for smart speaker shipments. This was revealed by Canalys, a market research firm that has found new data regarding this matter. China has now command over 51% of the market share in smart speaker systems, thus overtaking the US market share by a fair margin.
Canalys stated that the shipments in China had reached a record of 10.6 million units, and this boom was largely driven by huge festive promotions offered by Chinese retailers.
More specifically, Chinese technology giant Baidu had a huge first quarter thanks to striking an exclusive sponsorship deal with the national TV channel of China, which is the CCTV on its New Year’s Gala event on the eve of the Chinese New Year. This is one of the biggest entertainment shows in the world in terms of raw viewership numbers. This New Year’s promotional event prompted many users to download the application of Baidu on to their smartphones, which later managed to distribute more than 100 million coupons to an estimated audience figure of around 1.2 billion people during the show. Canalys says that this helped to drive awareness around the smart speakers from Baidu.
In Q1 of 2019, Baidu shipped around 3.3 million smart speakers, thus putting it in the third place just behind Amazon’s 4.6 million shipments for its Alexa speakers and Google’s shipments of 3.5 million. Alibaba and Xiaomi also followed closely as each recorded 3.2 million shipments for smart home speakers, a figure that was also largely driven by the promotions run by these brands during the Chinese New Year.
Nicole Peng, who is the VP of the Mobility division in Canalys, stated that the lightning-fast development that has been witnessed in the Chinese market is largely driven due to the fact that Chinese vendors are pouring large amounts of capital in order to achieve a dominant share in the market at a rapid pace. This strategy is also favored by some massive internet service providers in the country such as Alibaba, Baidu, and even Tencent that are traditionally utilized to spending billions on traffic acquisition and they know how to reach the critical installed base at a quick fashion.
Other brands, had a combined figure for shipments at 2.9 million. This includes brands like the HomePod from Apple, whose market share was just so tiny that it got bundled up into the “Others” section instead of being broken out on its own.
With 10.6 million units shipped, China has topped the US and now enjoys 51% of the total market share. The US had shipments of 5 million units, bringing its share to 24% for Q1 of 2019.
Overall, the global market for smart speaker systems has returned to triple-digit annual growth figures of around 131% in the first quarter, reaching a total figure of 20.7 million shipments, which is up from just 9 million shipped during the first quarter of 2018.