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Has Google overtaken Amazon to become the number one smart speaker platform?

The latest report has crowned Google the global smart speaker king, but is this indeed the case?

Published onMay 24, 2018

Google Home
  • Google has overtaken Amazon for global smart speaker shipments in Q1 2018, according to one research firm.
  • The Mountain View company reportedly shipped 3.2 million speakers compared to Amazon’s 2.5 million gadgets.
  • An earlier report by analytics firm Strategy Analytics found Amazon was still in the lead, however.

Amazon has enjoyed a notable head-start over Google in the smart speaker market, but at least one research company thinks Google has now taken the lead.

According to Canalys, Google shipped 3.2 million Google Home and Home Mini devices globally in Q1 2018. By comparison, the research firm said Amazon shipped 2.5 million Echo speakers.

Compared to Q1 2017, this represents 483-percent growth by Google and a more modest eight percent by Amazon, the tracking firm found. In other words, Google has been on a hot streak over the past few quarters and has quickly been reeling in the Amazon products.

Amazon Echo

Canalys analyst Ben Stanton said Google has “several advantages” over Amazon, but its most notable strength was in sales partnerships. Retailers and networks favor Google’s speakers over the Echo devices because Amazon is a “direct competitor” to the outlets, Stanton explained.

Google's smart speaker shipments jumped 709% in a year
Amazon Echo, Google Home Mini, and Google Home top-down image on wood table.

This news contrasts with an earlier report from Strategy Analytics, which claimed Amazon was still at the top for Q1 2018. According to the analytics firm, Amazon shipped four million units for the quarter, as opposed to Google’s 2.4 million units.

Now, we generally expect disparities between various tracking firms, owing to differing methodologies and approaches. However, there is a massive disparity between these two reports, making it difficult to determine just who is number one right now.

Nevertheless, Google’s growth is undeniable and it’s made even more impressive by the firm’s comparatively tepid approach to expansion. The Home speakers are available in at least 16 countries right now. Meanwhile, Amazon used its online footprint to bring Echo speakers and the Music Unlimited service to 28 countries. But the Echo speaker itself is now available in 89 countries.

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