The global shipments of smart speakers grew 197 percent year-over-year in Q3 of 2018, reaching a record-breaking amount of 22.7 million, according to Strategy Analytics’ quarterly report. Chinese companies Alibaba, Baidu and Xiaomi were among the top five brands.
“China has rapidly emerged this year as the second largest market for smart speakers after the U.S. and we are estimating a twelve-fold annual increase in Chinese shipments for 2018,” said David Watkins, Director at Strategy Analytics.
It seems as though the growth is not slowing down any time soon. David Mercer, Vice President at Strategy Analytics predicted, “The number of smart speakers in use globally will break 100 million this month and exceed 125 million by the end of the year.”
Amazon remains the top ranked smart speaker brand, with a market share of 31.6 percent, dropping by half from 64.8 percent in Q3 of 2017. Google ranked second with a market share of 22.7 percent. The other three top five spots were occupied by China’s Alibaba, Baidu, and Xiaomi, with market shares of 9.5 percent for Alibaba, 8.4 percent for both Baidu and Xiaomi.
Baidu, a new player in the smart speakers industry, has performed quite well. To promote its own DuerOS voice platform, the Chinese tech giant has introduced its first smart speaker that comes with a screen named “Xiaodu Zaijia” in March this year. The release of Xiaodu Smart Speaker helped boost Baidu’s sales numbers significantly with its promotional price of $13.
At the annual Baidu World Technology Conference in November this year, the company launched a pro version of Xiaodu Smart Speaker priced at $57, or $24 throughout the promotion period. Based on the sales numbers on different platforms, the low price strategy has worked very well in the domestic market, helping Baidu become one of the leading players in China’s smart hardware industry.