Updated: January 28, 2018 based on additional information provided by CIRP to Voicebot.
CIRP survey data suggests total smart speaker sales in the U.S. reached nearly 45 million at the end of 2017. This is quite a bit higher than other analyst estimates for the same period and full year of 2017. It seems entirely plausible for global shipments, but may be a bit high for U.S. only sales. The findings reflect responses to a 500-person survey in the U.S. of Amazon Echo and Google Home owners. It did not attempt to quantify information from consumers that owned smart speakers produced by other manufacturers.
18 Million Smart Speakers Sold in Q4 2017
CIRP revealed in November its estimate that total U.S. smart speaker sales has reached 27 million units. That would mean nearly 18 million smart speakers were sold in Q4 2017. Survey data also revealed that Google Home accounted for 40% of Q4 smart speaker sales in the U.S. Given that Google data suggests at least 7.6 million Google Home units were sold globally in Q4 2017, you could infer that about 11.4 million Amazon Echo units were sold if market share were consistent globally. A total of 19-20 million global smart speaker sales in Q4 2017 seems increasingly likely although other analysts are telling me they are thinking that it was closer to 15 million units in the top five markets. Either way, CIRP findings indicate a large number of devices were sold and indicates adoption rates are continuing to outpace previous projections.
Low-Price Smart Speakers Drive Adoption
The popularity of low-priced smart speakers such as Amazon Echo Dot and Google Home Mini may be the reason why so many analysts may have consistently underestimated sales volumes. Josh Lowitz, Partner and Co-Founder of CIRP commented:
Both Amazon and Google have emphasized lower-priced models. This allows consumers to try the new devices, and also buy multiples for multiple rooms. The Echo Dot continues to account for over half of all Echo units sold, and increased that share by a couple of percentage points in the holiday quarter. Google introduced its Home mini toward the start of the holiday shopping quarter, and it grabbed over 40% of Google Home sales in the quarter. Even more interesting, 20% of Amazon Echo users and 13% of Google Home users report owning more than one unit.
CIRP Says Google Market Share Up to 31% in U.S.
Data also suggest that Amazon Echo market share is currently 69% in the U.S. with Google Home accounting for 31%. The 69% figure for Amazon is consistent with Edison Research findings at the end of 2017, but that study showed only 25% market share for Google Home and 6% for smart speakers from other manufacturers. It seems more likely that other smart speakers have at least some market share. It appears that additional smart speakers from other manufacturers would reduce market share from both Google and Amazon when evaluating the entire market. CIRP did not attempt to quantify this impact. However, most smart speakers adopt either Alexa or Google Assistant for their voice assistant so even these third-party devices will accrue value to Amazon and Google.