Recently, Amazon reported to have had their biggest holiday season yet and claim to have sold “tens of millions” of Alexa-enabled devices worldwide during the holiday shopping season alone. Not only did Amazon’s newer Alexa-enabled devices sell out, but the Echo Spot, Echo Dot, and Echo Buttons flew off the virtual shelves as well. With the Apple HomePod set to be released this year and the latest announcement of LG’s ThinQ, a Google Assistant-powered smart speaker for the home, many are wondering if 2018 will be the pivotal year for smart speakers.
The relatively young smart speaker market has seen an influx of new models over the past few years. Amazon pioneered their first smart speaker, the Amazon Echo, in late 2014 and it has quickly dominated the market. The Echo offers digital assistant Alexa as a voice-activated search engine and operating system, and gives users a way to connect with both the online world and other devices. And with the Google Home as the Echo’s top competitor, more tech brands are sure to follow suit with smart speaker variations of their own.
These connected devices are extremely popular thanks to the affordable cost, IoT connection capabilities and the convenience of hands-free technology. The cost of smart speakers is undeniably welcoming. Ranging from an average of $100-200, smart speakers are extremely affordable and therefore can draw in a much larger audience. Just as well, another desirable feature of these devices is the connectivity with other devices. As smart thermostats, smart refrigerators, and smart televisions are becoming more commonplace, the more users are beginning to search for something home-based to centralized all of their advanced devices and needs. With the ability to do all of this while never needing to physically touch the device itself has people rushing to get one, or possibly more, for their homes.
A recent report by Technavio Market Research predicts the global smart speaker market to grow at a CAGR of more than 36% by 2021 and exceed U.S. $17 billion in spending. While security remains a major issue, especially with the recent BlueBorne attacks, the smart speaker market indicates sales won’t be slowing down anytime soon. In fact with massive companies like Apple, Samsung and LG gearing up to release their own smart speakers, it is highly likely that we’ll be seeing even more of these connected devices than ever before and more competitive market.
The rise in demand for IoT is what will be fueling the smart speaker market growth. And with the If This Then That (IFTTT) methodology, that believes if one device is working directly with another device then all devices should all be interconnected, the smart speaker market will see incredible growth in the capabilities of what the device will be able to connect with. We’ve already seen a number of curious smart devices for the home such as connected color-changing light bulbs and the quirky egg minders that connect your egg carton to the internet as a means of monitoring how fresh your egg carton is. With things as mundane as light bulbs and egg cartons gearing up to prepare for the boom of ‘smart homes,’ it’s easy to say that smart speakers, arguably the originator of the smart home, are here to stay.