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Amazon Echo still king among smart speakers despite declining U.S. market share

Both Apple and Google have rabid followings in the smart speaker market, but neither one comes close to Amazon’s market share. According to a recent report from eMarketer, Amazon will continue to comfortably hold its market lead throughout 2021, with roughly 70% of smart speaker users choosing an Amazon Echo device. On the other hand, 70% is lower than last year’s reported usage of 72.9%.

Market analysis firm eMarketer predicts that Amazon’s market lead will continue to decrease as both Google and Apple strengthen their product offerings and bring more to the smart assistant market. They estimate that next year, 69.7% of smart speaker users will be loyal to Amazon, 31.7% will use Google-branded smart speakers, and 18.4% will use other types of smart speakers. eMarketer notes this percentage adds up to over 100% because some users employ multiple brands.

The Echo positions itself as a natural entry-level device for two reasons. The first is that Amazon grabbed the market lead to start with. When the Echo was first released to the public, it had next to no competition, and certainly no competition driven by a company as large as Amazon. A second factor is price. The Echo Dot serves as the perfect entry-level model for someone dipping their toes into the world of smart assistants because of its $50 price point. Though the Nest Home Mini is also $50, it doesn’t have the marketing push behind it that the Echo Dot does.

Amazon says there are over 70,000 different Alexa Skills with more being added each day. The Alexa Skill Blueprint makes creating your own skill as easy as filling in the blanks. The perception is that the Amazon Echo is more widely compatible with smart home devices than its competition, whether that is true or not.

The eMarketer report goes on to say that while the total number of U.S. smart speaker users will continue to grow, growth is expected to slow as Alexa, Google Assistant, and Siri branch into other devices beyond smart speakers and phones. Integrated functionality in cars, appliances, and other devices will impact the smart speaker market as well, and will lead to broader adoption of smart assistants across the country.

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