Google outsold Amazon in the competitive smart speaker market for the first time ever in the first quarter, a report from technology research firm Canalys claims.
According to the report, Google shipped 3.2 million Google Home devices, while Amazon sold 2.5 million Echo devices in the quarter. Google captured 36 percent of market share in the first quarter, versus 28 percent for Amazon.
Amazon and Google representatives did not immediately return requests for comment. Amazon and Google do not break out sales of the devices, so estimates are based on Canalys’ Smart Analysis service. We’ve reached out to Canalys to learn more about its methodology.
The results are a stark turnaround from a year ago, when Amazon commanded nearly 80 percent of the market, versus 19 percent for Google. Canalys pointed to Amazon’s competition with traditional retailers as one major factor in Google’s rise.
“Google has several advantages over Amazon that have helped it move ahead,” said Canalys Analyst Ben Stanton. “But its biggest advantage is in the channel. Operators and retailers tend to prioritize Google’s speakers over those from Amazon, as Amazon is in the tricky position of being a direct competitor. But Amazon is fighting back hard, and the sheer quantity of Alexa Skills and smart home integrations will be tough for any competitor to match.”
Chinese e-commerce giant Alibaba came in third this quarter, thanks to the Tmall Genie speaker released last year. Alibaba shipped 1.1 million units in the quarter, led the way in China and captured 11 percent of the smart speaker market.
Worldwide, more than 9 million smart speakers shipped in the quarter, a figure that is up 210 percent over the year prior. For the first time, U.S. shipments made up less than 50 percent of all sales as the proliferation of devices in places like China and South Korea have turned the smart speaker market into a global phenomenon.