In the first quarter of 2018, Google sold more Google Home and Google Mini smart speakers than Amazon sold Echo devices for the first time. It wasn’t by a tight margin either, Google sold 3.2 million smart speakers compared to Amazon’s 2.5 million.
Technology research firm Canalys reports in their Smart Analysis service that out of 9 million smart speakers sold, more than one in three was a Google device in the first quarter of 2018. In fairness, both companies sold considerably fewer speakers than in Q4 2017 but that isn’t a surprise as it includes the Christmas period.
It should be noted that this is just one quarter of sales – Amazon have a huge market share, largely by virtue of being first to release a smart speaker. In the UK, the last reported figures are that Amazon owns around 75% of the installed base so Google has a long way to catch up with their 29% UK installed base.
In China, Alibaba launched their Tmall Genie speaker in 2017 and achieved sales in Q1 2018 of 1.1 million units. They are the leading supplier of smart speakers in China and their share worldwide now represents 11% of units sold. A smaller player, Xiaomi also shipped over 600,000 units in China.
The largest markets by sales in Q1 2018 were in order, the US, China, South Korea (where 730,000 units were sold) and then the UK. South Korea is a country worth noting – it’s reported that they are now eBay’s third largest territory after the US and UK.
Canalys suggest that Google sales of smart speakers are up due to their penetration of India combined with retailers more willing to prioritise Google products as they view Amazon as a competitor. However they note the number of skills Amazon have combined with extensive smart home integration currently keeping them in market leading position.
Interestingly, although Apple launched their HomePod device in Q1 they didn’t sell enough units to merit a mention and are lumped in with “other” in the figures.