China is the fastest growing smart speaker market

No surprise that smart speaker sales are on the rise. That certainly comports with recent numbers from NPD. The latest report from Canalys, however, pulls the camera back a bit to give a better picture of the global market. Seems that while smart speaker sales continue to be hot here in the States, they’re positively on fire in China.

Global shipments increased by 187 percent year-over-year for a total of 16.8 million units. China accounted for 52-percent of the total growth worldwide, with Alibaba and Xiaomi accounting for 17.7 and 12.2 percent, respectively. The growth is large, in part, due to the fact that the category effectively didn’t exists a year ago.

Canalys’ Hattie He notes that a confluence of different elements have potentially put the country on track overtake the U.S.

“Alibaba and Xiaomi have both relied on aggressive price cuts to create demand,” He adds. “Both companies have the financial backing to spend on marketing and hardware subsidies in a bid to quickly build their user bases. Although the real level of user demand for speaker products is currently unproven, China is on its way to overtake the US in the near term. The challenge remains for local vendors to increase user stickiness and generate revenue from the growing installed base of smart speaker users.”

Also interesting is the fact that Google has maintained its top spot ahead of Amazon, with explosive growth year over year. Google’s up 449 percent to Amazon’s -14 — putting the two companies in first and second place, respectively. Of course, Amazon got a significant headset in the market, so Google has some ground to make up. Apple, meanwhile, failed to crack the top four.

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