Canalys forecasts the worldwide smart speaker installed base will grow 82.4 percent from 114.0 million units in 2018 to 207.9 million in 2019. The U.S. is expected to maintain its lead in terms of smart speaker adoption, accounting for 42.2 percent of the global smart speaker installed base by the end of the year.
The East-Asian markets stood out, particularly China, as these countries present larger growth opportunities due to the sheer number of middle-class households and a working population willing to embrace new technology. The Chinese market is one of the world’s most competitive, yet Google and Amazon have no presence there. China’s smart speaker installed base is expected to reach 59.9 million units by the end of 2019. Hardware differentiation is becoming increasingly difficult, and consumers have higher expectations of smart speakers and smart assistants. Vendors will need to focus on marketing the next-generation wow factor for their respective smart assistants and voice services to change consumers’ perception and drive greater adoption.