Smart speakers and smart displays had a good year, especially considering the dramatic variables in the worldwide landscape, according to Strategy Analytics. The firm estimates smart speaker/display shipments of 39.3 million units for 2021.
This was a 10% year-over-year increase and a record for a third quarter. It was, however, flat from the second quarter of 2021.
The landscape includes uncertainty about the COVID-19 pandemic and the Omicron variant and what the firm says is an “ongoing and intensifying shortage of semiconductors and other components.” The shortages are of particular concern for Chinese vendors and those at the fringes of the market.
The top six vendors stayed in the same order between the third quarter of 2021 and the year-ago quarter: Amazon (26.4% market share in the third quarter of 2021; 28.9% in the third quarter of 2020); Google (20.5%; 19.1%); Baidu (13.6%; 13.1%); Alibaba (10.8%; 12.7%); Apple (10.2%; 5.9%) and Xiaomi (5.1%; 5.8%). The “other” category was at 13.3% in the third quarter of this year and 14.7% in the year-ago quarter.
Strategy Analytics said that smart displays grew almost 19% between the third quarter of this year and the year-ago quarter and basic smart speakers – those without a display—grew about 7%. The biggest selling item was Google’s Nest Hub, with 1.5 million units shipped.
“While the first half of 2021 in the global smart speaker and smart display market was a return to form as vendors capitalized on pent-up demand from 2020, the lingering, if not intensifying, issues of shipping and logistics challenges, component shortages, and the Delta and Omicron variants of the COVID-19 virus in the second half of 2021 are hanging heavy on this market. It is likely this market’s growth will not return to pre-COVID levels until at least 2023,” Jack Narcotta, Strategy Analytics’ Principal Industry Analyst for Smart Home, said in a press release about the smart speaker/display shipments research.
The growth despite the fractious landscape may be due to a general growth in acceptance of smart technology. For instance, in March, Parks Associates said that 34% of U.S. senior broadband households use smart speakers or smart displays.