Global smart speaker shipments experienced upheaval in Q1 2019, with the US and China swapping spots as the largest market by shipments,according to Canalys. The US accounted for just 24% of smart speaker shipments in Q1 2019, down from 44% in Q4 2018, while China grew almost 500% from the previous quarter to account for 51% of the market.
Here's what it means:The Chinese smart speaker market is gaining traction, as its share of shipments reached an all-time high.
The bigger picture:As the US smart speaker market begins to leave its growth stage and enter a maturity stage, Amazon and Google will likely find it difficult to maintain their spots as the top global smart speaker providers, and will turn to services to drive higher revenue as growth slows.
In 2018,35% of US smart speaker households owned more than one smart speaker, up from 18% a year earlier. To capitalize on the existing base of US smart speakers, market leaders Amazon and Google can turn to services such as voice app stores and subscription services to drive higher revenue.
Amazon already has a wide offering of almost60,000 voice apps for its Alexa-enabled smart speakers, while Google has just over 4,000. The companies can monetize these apps by taking a cut of the apps' revenue and in-app purchases, like Apple does from its App Store, for example.
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