Beyond its basic function as a wireless speaker, the integrated virtual assistant in a smart speaker is able to perform tasks according to the user’s voice commands and control the functions of a smart home. In addition to serving as the voice user interface of the main technology platform, it can also play music, report the weather and arrange schedules, integrating and becoming an import part of people’s daily lives. As IoT evolves, the functions of smart speakers will be amplified too, resulting in endless possibilities of how smart speakers can be used to enhance our lives.
JUAN DIEGO OLIVA PLAZA / ALAMY STOCK PHOTO
In terms of shipments, the Chinese speaker market is currently the largest smart speaker market. Despite the COVID-19 outbreak, in the first half of 2020, the sales revenue of smart speakers in China reached 3.6 billion yuan, equivalent to the total annual sales in 2018, accounting for nearly half of the global smart speaker shipments. China's smart speaker market has a projected annual growth rate of 18.43% from 2021 to 2025, resulting in a projected market volume of US$39,138 million by 2025. The key drivers of the growing smart speaker market are:
Increasing disposable income
Increasing number of smart homes and penetration of IoT devices
Presence of 5G
Appeal of smart appliances to millenials
Advance of natural language processing
Increasing demand for multifunctional devices
Currently, the smart speaker market in China is dominated by domestic brands, where Chinese technology giants such as Alibaba, Xiaomi and Baidu hold over 80% of the market share. 71% of consumers surveyed recognized Xiaomi smart speakers; Alibaba’s Tmall Genie’s global quarterly shipments of smart speakers were 6.3 million units; Baidu's Xiaodu smart speakers have the highest quarterly growth rate in shipments, with a share of 11.6% in global smart speaker shipments. The popularity of the smart speaker in the Chinese market can also be partially attributed to the price war between these technology companies, slashing average prices of smart speakers from $100 in 2017 to under $20 currently.
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