Google has tough competition from China-only player Baidu in the smart speaker market. In a significant development, Baidu shipped 4.5 million units in April-June, growing 3700% in the quarter, according to a report by marketing, analytics, and research firm Canalys. Baidu introduced Xiaodu smart speakers in Q2 of last year.
In contrast, Google shipped 4.3 million units in Q2 2019.
According to the Canalys report, Amazon maintained its lead in the global smart speaker market, shipping 6.6 million units of its Echo speakers, followed by Baidu, Google, Alibaba, and Xiaomi.
The report said the market grew 55.4% in Q2 2019, with a total shipment of 26.1 million units.
“China’s smart speaker market performance outshone others", with double the quarterly shipment size and a total of 12.6 million units shipped. That’s more than two times the size of the US market, which has 6.1 million units, the report said.
“Aggressive marketing and go-to-market campaigns built strong momentum for Baidu in China. The vendor stood out as a key driver of smart displays, to achieve 45% smart display product mix in its Q2 shipments," said Cynthia Chen, Canalys Research Analyst. Chen said Baidu faces “little competition" in the smart display space in China.
Meanwhile, the market size for smart speakers in the US declined 2.4% in Q2 2019. Canalys noted that both Google and Amazon “are focused on growing their business outside the US".
“Google’s transition to the Next 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," it said.
Incidentally, Google launched the Google Nest Hub smart display in India today. The device competes against Amazon’s Echo Show and Echo Show 5 smart displays, and is priced at ₹9,999.
According to IDC’s (International Data Corporation) India Monthly Smart Speaker Device Tracker, Google had a 39% of the market share in India in 2018, behind Amazon which has a 59% market share.
The two companies are pretty much the only ones selling smart speakers in India at the moment. However, companies like Bose and Sony have used Google and Amazon’s technology to offer smart speakers in India in 2019 as well and it’s a matter of time before others do the same.