Smart Speakers - Thematic Research

Smart Speakers - Thematic Research


It is only four years since Amazon unveiled the Echo, the first wireless speaker to incorporate a voice-activated virtual assistant. Initial reactions were muted (one press report from the time noted the product’s uniqueness while describing it as “a tad baffling”) but the Echo, and the Alexa virtual assistant it contained, quickly became a phenomenon, with the level of demand catching even Amazon by surprise. Given the success of the Echo it was inevitable that other companies would want a piece of the action. Today, nearly every leading technology company is either already producing a smart speaker or developing one, with Facebook the latest to enter the fray (launching its Portal device in October 2018). The appetite for smart speakers is also not limited by geography, with China in particular emerging as a major marketplace. Our estimates suggest that the global installed base for smart speakers with hit 100 million early next year, before surpassing the 200 million mark at some point in 2020.

A major factor in the smart speaker’s path to ubiquity has been the willingness of vendors to slash prices, even if it means making a loss on every device sold. The reason for this is simple: the value of smart speakers extends beyond the hardware itself. Smart speakers give companies like Amazon, Google, Apple, and Alibaba access to a vast amount of highly valuable user data; they allow users to get comfortable interacting with artificial intelligence (AI) tools in general, and virtual assistants in particular, increasing the likelihood that they will use them in other situations (such as the car or the office); and they have the potential to lock customers in to a company’s ecosystem, making it more likely that they will buy complementary products or access other services, such as online stores.


- This report looks at the rise of the smart speaker, from the launch of the first device in 2014 to today, when the biggest names in technology are competing for a slice of a rapidly-growing market.
- It also looks at the trends that are shaping this theme and identifies likely winners and losers.
- The report is global in scope, including analysis of smart speakers markets across North America, Europe, and Asia-Pacific.

Reasons to buy

- This report provides an overview of the global smart speaker market, highlighting the leading players in territories such as the US, UK, China and South Korea, as well as identifying key emerging markets.
- It looks in detail at the major providers and their offerings, covering a range of companies including Alibaba, Amazon, Google,, Kakao, KT, Naver, SK Telecom, Sonos, and Xiaomi.
- It provides a forecast for the installed base of smart speakers, along with market share figures and information on merger and acquisition activity.
- The value chain demonstrates how smart speakers form part of the automated home market, one of the six distinct markets within the Internet of Things theme.

Technology trends 4
Macroeconomic trends 6
Regulatory trends 7
Market size and growth forecasts 8
Competitive analysis 11
Mergers and acquisitions 12
Timeline 14
Conversational platforms 16
Smart speakers 17
Who’s who in the consumer electronics sector 23
Thematic screen 24
Valuation screen 25
Risk screen 26

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