Baidu Overtakes Google In The Smart Speaker Race

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Google has lost its crown as the world's second-largest smart speaker vendor. According to market research firm Canalys, China's Baidu now holds that title.

Baidu registered a staggering year-on-year growth of 3700-percent in the second quarter of 2019, overthrowing Google from the second spot. It shipped 4.5 million smart speakers in Q2 2019, capturing 17.3-percent of the global market. The feat is quite impressive given that it was effectively a non-entity a year earlier. Canalys estimates the firm to have shipped just 100,000 devices in Q2 2018.

Google, on the other hand, saw its smart speaker shipments fell by 19.8-percent to 4.3 million units during the same period. The Alphabet-owned company's market share dropped to just 16.7-percent in the second quarter of 2019. According to the data compiled by Canalys, Google had shipped 5.4 million units of smart speakers in Q2 2018, capturing 32.3-percent of the global market.

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Overall, Q2 2019 saw the global smart speaker market grow 55.4-percent annually to reach 26.1 million units. Shipments in China alone reached 12.6 million units this past quarter, a figure that Canalys says has doubled from last year. The US comes second with 6.1 million smart speakers shipped nationwide.

OEM wise, Amazon leads the chart with 25.4-percent market share, accounting for 6.6 million units shipped in the quarter. Amazon's smart speaker shipments grew 61.1-percent annually from 4.1 million units a year earlier.

Alibaba and Xiaomi make up the top five smart speaker vendors with 15.8-percent and 10.8-percent market share, respectively. Alibaba's shipments grew 38.8-percent annually to hit 4.1 million units in Q2 2019. Xiaomi also saw an identical annual growth of 37.5-percent to ship 2.8 million devices during the three months period.

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The rest of the device makers, which also includes Apple and its HomePod, totaled 3.7 million units, 14.1-percent of the market.

Google causing its own downfall

Of the top five companies included in Canalys' Q2 2019 report, only Google saw a decline in shipments. And it has nothing to do with the drastic surge of Baidu. The two companies aren't direct competitors as they operate in mutually exclusive markets. Baidu serves in China only, while Google sells its products almost everywhere except China.

So, Google's downfall is more of a self-inflicted one. Canalys says Google's Nest rebranding, as well as its failure to regularly update its smart speaker lineup is causing its downfall. Google hasn't updated the Google Home in almost three years, and the Home Mini in almost two. Amazon, the world leader, meanwhile, is doing a really good job in this regard and is bearing the fruits too.

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Google currently seems to be focused on making Google Assistant integration easier for other device manufacturers. However, a recent Nest Mini leak suggests that it's also working on to correct its missteps.

Both Google and Amazon primarily serve in the US but are now turning their attention to non-US markets. Canalys found that 50-percent of Amazon's smart speaker shipments were outside the US in Q2 2019, up from 32% a year earlier. Google also shipped 55-percent of its smart speakers out of the US this past quarter, up from 42% in the same period last year.

canalys q2 2019 smart speaker shipment

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