Tech

Amazon crushing Google in US, 70% users will use Echo in 2020: Report

When it comes to smart speakers, retail giant Amazon is crushing its rival Google and Apple in the US. A new report by eMarketer said that almost 70 per cent of total US smart speaker owners will continue to use an Amazon Echo device.

“This year, 69.7 per cent of US smart speaker users will use an Echo, down slightly from 72.9 per cent last year. By comparison, 31.7 per cent of smart speaker users will turn to Google-branded devices, and 18.4 per cent will use other smart speaker brands, including the Apple HomePod, Harmon Kardon Invoke and Sonos One,” the market research company said in a statement on Monday.

These percentages add up to more than 100 per cent because some smart speaker users use more than one brand of speaker.

Even though Amazon wasn’t first-to-market with a voice assistant, it had first-mover advantage in smart speakers with its US introduction of the Echo and built-in voice assistant Alexa in late 2014. Since then, it has consistently released new features that make the speaker easier and more intuitive to use.

“Since Amazon first introduced the Echo, it has built a convincing lead in the US and continues to beat back challenges from top competitors,” said Victoria Petrock, 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.”

Amazon has also opened Alexa to outside development and fostered its compatibility with thousands of Amazon-branded and third-party smart-home devices. The Echo is, however, slightly less competitive in some countries because it supports fewer non-English languages than its major competitors.

The market research firm noted that while US smart speaker users will continue to rise in absolute numbers, it expects the overall growth to slow over the next several years, particularly as Alexa and other voice assistants migrate into other devices, including vehicles, appliances and other smart-home components.

“We estimate that there will be 83.1 million smart speaker users this year, representing year-over-year growth of 13.7 per cent. In 2021, growth will slip into the single digits. Some 28.9 per cent of internet users currently use smart speakers, a figure we expect to rise to 30.5 per cent next year,” the firm noted.

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