Google has fallen to the third spot in the worldwide smart speaker market. In Q2 2019, its sales were overtaken by China’s Baidu.
In the second quarter alone, there were about 21.6 million shipments of smart speakers around the world, allowing the market to grow by 55.4%.
Amazon retains its position as the top-selling smart speaker brand worldwide. For Q2, 6.6 units were shipped globally, covering about 25.4% of the total market share. Amazon has managed to grow by 61.1% annually with about 50% of its shipment credited to international sales.
As for the second spot, the Chinese company was able to ship 4.5 million units, taking 17.3% of the market share in Q2. Google, on the other hand, had 4.3 million units shipped, getting 16.7% of the market share. China’s Alibaba and Xiaomi take fourth and fifth spot with 4.1 million and 2.8 million smart speaker units shipped respectively.
In the same quarter last year, the market welcomed the reentry of Baidu. Around that time, it only sold 100,000 units of its smart speakers. A year later, Baidu has managed to take over Google’s spot. The Beijing-based company has seen impressive year-on-year growth of 3,700% for its smart speaker line.
In China, the sales of smart speakers in Q2 of this year doubled, amounting to 12.6 million units sold. This number is twice the number of smart speakers shipped in the United States. Compared to last quarter, there has been a 2.4% decline in U.S. shipments.
Baidu’s growth is said to be due to its aggressive marketing and go-to-market campaigns. Baidu has managed to find success with its smart display smart speaker. This accounted for 45% of its total shipment.
“Local network operator’s interests on the smart display device category soared recently. This bodes well for Baidu as it faces little competition in the smart display category, allowing the company to dominate in the operator channel,” said Canalys Research Analyst Cynthia Chen.
When Baidu introduced its smart speaker called the Teenage Engineering-designed Raven H speaker, it aimed for the high end of the market. However, this was received rather poorly. Baidu then focused on selling less expensive models.
As there has been a shift between Google and Baidu in the smart speaker sales ranking for Q2, it’s important to note that both companies aren’t exactly direct competitors. Baidu’s smart speakers are sold exclusively in China. Both Google and Amazon are selling their smart speakers worldwide except in China.
Based on the Q2 2019 results, this is the first time that the shipment of Google’s smart speakers has declined. In Q2 2018, it led the smart speaker market with a 32.3% share of around 5.4 million devices shipped. If compared to the numbers this quarter, Google’s market share is now half of what it was in the same period last year.
Several factors are seen as contributing factors to the decline of Google’s smart speaker sales. One of these is the lack of an updated version of its flagship smart speaker, Google Home. The device was released in 2016 but the market has yet to see an update.
The Google Home Mini launched in 2017 has also not been updated. Consumers were only given additional color options. Google’s lack of updates is a far cry from Amazon. The latter has consistently introduced updates to its smart speaker product line every two years.
There have been reports that Google Home will be seeing its biggest update in years. In Q2 2019, Google decided to rebrand its Google Home Hub. Its future releases will be carrying the “Nest” brand including the rumored Google Nest Hub Max.
In Q2 2019, Google’s smart speakers were not introduced to new countries or markets for the first time. This is also seen as another factor in the declining sales for the quarter. Compared to the same period in 2018, Google was able to ship its smart speakers to countries like Singapore, Italy, Australia, Spain, Mexico, and Ireland.