The global smart speaker market is set to grow by 21 per cent next year, reaching 163m units, mainly driven by growth in Mainland China. According to the latest forecasts from Canalys, Mainland China will grow 16 per cent in 2020, compared to three per cent for the rest of the world, due to it already having the COVID-19 pandemic relatively under control.
Heading into 2021, with many countries facing the prospect of lockdowns, it’s expected people will decide to bring new devices into their homes to help with being cooped up inside again. Excluding Mainland China, shipments are expected to reach 90m globally.
Amazon, Google, and Apple have all debuted upgrades and additions to their smart speaker lines over the past few months. However, while Amazon and Google continue to dominate global market share, only Apple sells its own smart speakers in Mainland China.
“The challenge is to bring noticeable improvements and innovation with minimal increase in costs,” said Jason Low, Canalys Research Manager. “Amazon and Google are striving to spark interest by breaking the speaker mould, each taking different design routes aimed to obtain sound quality improvements, not only with physical design changes, but also introducing additional elements of computational audio. In the future, a customer’s listening experience will be increasingly adaptable and driven by AI.”
Cynthia Chen, Canalys Research Analyst, added, “The US$99 (approximately CYN700) price segment is pretty much a no-mans-land in China, yet adequate to appeal to Apple’s user-base. Apple should take this opportunity to drive the uptake of its music and other services consumed at home.”