Amazon maintains massive lead over Apple in US smart speaker market
Amazon's share of the U.S. smart speaker market is expected to contract slightly in 2020 and 2021, according to new research from eMarketer, but the dip is unlikely to faze the e-tailer whose popular Alexa-powered Echo devices enjoy a commanding lead over segment competitors Google and Apple.
The latest estimates from eMarketer, released on Monday, put Amazon's U.S. marketshare at 72.9% in 2019, up 2% from the year prior. That figure is expected to decline to 69.7% in 2020 and 68.2% in 2021 as more consumers buy into the market, loosening the online retailer's stranglehold.
Still, Amazon's current and predicted marketshare more than doubles that of its closest challenger Google, which held a 31.1% piece of the pie in 2019. The search giant is expected to see its stake increase to 31.7% and 32% in 2020 and 2021, respectively.
Google's estimated growth mirrors that of "other" manufacturers and individual product lines, a group of smaller players that includes Apple's HomePod, Harmon Kardon's Invoke and Sonos One. Last year, some 17.9% of smart speaker users owned a device that falls into the catchall category, a figure expected to increase to 18.4% in 2020 and 18.8% in 2021, according to eMarketer.
"Since Amazon first introduced the Echo, it has built a convincing lead in the U.S. and continues to beat back challenges from top competitors," said Victoria Petrock, a principal analyst at eMarketer. "We had previously expected Google and Apple to make more inroads in this market, but Amazon has remained aggressive. By offering affordable devices and building out the number of Alexa skills, the company has maintained Echo's appeal."
In the U.S., eMarketer sees the smart speaker market to grow to 83.1 million users this year, up 13.7% year-over-year. Growth is anticipated to fall into the single digits in 2021.
CIRP in a report last year also estimated Amazon to command roughly 70% of the U.S. smart speaker segment on the back of a wide range of Echo offerings. Apple, which fields one premium product in HomePod, accounted for an estimated 6% of the market.