In the US, the smart speaker market has accelerated quickly during 2018. The Nordics haven’t adapted to the smart speaker quite as fast, partly explained by language barriers. But, looking at Sweden as an example, we are beginning to see sales picking up. In Q4 of 2018, with X-mas likely providing an extra push, 200 000 households now have a smart speaker – equivalent to approx. 15% of households.
In the US, the number of smart speakers in households grew by 78% year-over-year (YOY) according to a recent report. This means that 53 million Americans, which equals 21% of the population, now owns a smart speaker. Comparatively, during the fourth quarter of 2018 14% (200’), of Swedish households owns at least one smart speaker. The penetration is expected to increase further, 25% of non-smart speaker households said they might purchase a smart speaker within one year.
As opposed to the US where Amazon controls a vast majority (67%) of the smart speaker market, Google is the leader on several other markets. Zooming in on Sweden specifically, Google holds more than half (55%) of the smart speaker market in Q4.
Among Swedish HHs with a smart speaker: Product/brand, Q4 2018
A contributing factor to Google’s dominating market share is that Google launched the first Swedish-speaking voice assistant on the market in August. Apple is notably missing from the list, which is also the case on the global market. Apple’s Homepod speaker targets the premium segment of consumers while Amazon and Google are pricing their speakers lower in order to gain market shares.
Despite the tech giants selling millions of units worldwide, and the smart speaker becoming increasingly common in homes, voice assistants are still in the early stages of development. However, collaborations with “Big brands” as well as media companies will likely push this market quickly – here as well as in the US. An example is IKEA, that recently announced a collaboration with Sonos. Another important factor which is likely to boost sales even further is voice assistants in local languages, as illustrated by Google Assistant’s launch which started off in Sweden – probably due to the fact that Swedish is the biggest language in the region. Google Assistant has since launched as both Danish- and Norwegian speaking, no plans on a Finnish version has been announced. Competition between actors will most likely continue during 2019.
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