Google managed to beat Amazon's smart speaker shipments for the first time ever over the initial three months of 2018, Canalys reports, estimating that the company delivered some 3.2 million of its Home-branded devices to vendors during the observed period, whereas Amazon managed 2.5 million Echo products. The duo still accounts for over 60-percent of the global smart speaker market which remains the fastest-growing consumer electronics sector whose total first-quarter shipments amounted to nine million units, up 210-percent annually.
Canalys's findings are largely in line with the estimates outlined by Strategy Analytics last week, with both market research firms claiming the Mountain View, California-based tech giant is presently the fastest-growing player in the smart speaker industry. The new report puts Google's yearly growth in the field at 483-percent, noting how Amazon only improved its quarterly shipments by eight percentage points, a sign that its product lineup may be maturing. While the industry as a whole is growing at a rapid pace, smart speakers still aren't considered a global phenomenon due to the highly concentrated nature of their popularity; the United States, China, and South Korea accounted for 6.6 million shipments in the first quarter of 2018 after already driving the market's growth in the last two years.
Amazon remains the most popular smart speaker vendor in the United States, though Google Assistant supported by Home-series devices is widely considered to be the most advanced consumer-ready artificial intelligence in the world. Both Amazon and Google are expected to announce new products in the second half of the year, with Alphabet's subsidiary likely planning to launch such offerings in early October at its annual hardware event which will also reportedly see the introduction of the Pixel 3 and Pixel 3 XL Android flagships, a new version of the Pixel Buds, and three Pixel-branded smartwatches running Wear OS. Besides the two American tech giants, Alibaba and Xiaomi are also part of the top four largest smart speaker vendors on the planet, according to Canalys.