Google’s push to compete with Amazon Echo in the home is starting to pay off with increased market share, according to a new study released this morning by Consumer Intelligence Research Partners.
The study estimates that there are now 14 million Google Home units in U.S. homes. That’s still less than half of Amazon’s estimated U.S. installed base of 31 million Echo devices, according to the firm. However, Google has been surging, with 40 percent of units sold in the U.S. during the holiday quarter, its best result yet.
Amazon had jumped out to an early lead in the market. One marketing professor previously called Amazon’s Echo smart speaker and Alexa voice assistant the “accidental winner.” But the recent jump by Google underscores the fact that it’s still early days in this market, as the two companies compete for the attention of new buyers.
Both companies have been relying heavily on lower-priced devices for the bulk of their growth. The CIRP study estimates that the $50 Echo Dot accounts for more than half of Echo unit sales, and the $49 Google Home Mini made up about 40 percent of Google Home device sales during the holiday quarter.
The market has big potential in part because of a pattern of multiple devices in a home. CIRP says that 20 percent of Echo users and 13 percent of Google Home users own more than one device.
Amazon has been racing to stay ahead with new types of Echo devices, including the touch-screen Echo Show and Echo Spot, while also expanding Alexa directly into third-party devices. At the CES technology show in Las Vegas this month, Google announced new Google Assistant integrations with touch-screen devices to be released by hardware partners JBL, Lenovo, LG and Sony, competing more directly with the Echo Show and Spot.
One of Google’s advantages on those devices will be YouTube integration. The search giant, which owns the popular video portal, has blocked Amazon from integrating YouTube into Echo devices and Amazon’s FireTV streaming devices as part of a broader spat between the companies.
CIRP based its study on a survey of 500 U.S. households that own an Amazon Echo or Google Home device.