Let’s face it, Google Home was great in its time but has since been long surpassed by other manufacturers. While it is possible that Google just wanted to open up the space to Google Assistant before allowing other manufacturers such as Sony, JBL etc to take over manufacturing Google Assistant speakers but it does not look good for Google either way.
In market analysis performed by Canalys Google has slipped to number three in the smart speaker market, overtaken by the Chinese Baidu speakers. Baidu speakers are only available in China and yet their marketshare of the worldwide segment grew by a massive 3700 percent. This of course is also indicative of how relatively new they are with only just over 12 months on the market — in Q2 2018 they shipped only 100,000 units compared to 4.5 million units in Q2 2019.
Google’s share of the market dropped from 32.3 percent and 5.4 million shipments, and top position a year ago to third and 16.7 percent with 4.3 million units shipped in Q2 this year. Google was the only top 5 smart speaker manufacturer to see negative annual growth in the market during this period which is possibly indicative of how outdated the Google Home speakers are now.
We have seen rumours of a new Google Home Mini coming soon but it is also the larger Google Home that needs a refresh with the speakers in it sub-par when compared with the sound quality coming out of Bose, Sony and other smart speakers — even Amazon have refreshed their lineup to include greater sound and music capabilities.
At the top of the market this year was Amazon with their Alexa speakers being continually updated as the market shifts and moves. Their market share grew from 24.5 percent to 25.5 percent from Q2 2018 to 2019, representing an increase of 2.5 million units from 4.1 million to 6.6 million units shipped.
Market analyst Jason Low said that:
Amazon and Google are focused on growing their business outside the US. Google’s transition to the Nest branding while pivoting to smart displays proved to be a challenge, especially as it has begun rolling out its Nest Hub smart display globally. Google urgently requires a revamped non-display smart speaker portfolio to rekindle consumer interest, as well as a robust marketing strategy to build its Nest branding outside of the US.
It will be interesting to see if Google do decide to refresh their Google Home lineup or whether they continue with their focus on smart displays, possibly bringing out a better sounding speaker with a display. In the meantime Baidu will continue to grow with very little opposition in China as their search engine dominates the scene and Amazon will continue to keep refreshing their lineup keeping it at the pointy end of the market.
Do not forget though that there are a lot of third party manufacturers making Google Assistant speakers which is Google’s main goal — to get more users using their digital assistant.
Should Google be worried about their dropping smart speaker sales or does their strategy of leaving speaker manufacturers to the smart speakers and shifting their focus to smart displays seem sound to you? Would you buy a Google Home smart speaker now considering all of the other offerings available?