Echo smart speaker: Amazon feels squeeze as Google and Apple make gains

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Amazon was still the top contender, with shipments rising to 4 million from 2 million, but its market share nearly halved as competition in the sector heated up with the entrance of Alibaba, Apple and Xiaomi.

One of those smart speaker manufacturers that achieved stronger growth than Amazon in the period was Google.

As expected, with the advantage of being the early mover, Amazon leads the market with 43.6% of all the shipments in Q1 2018.

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Amazon started the craze with the launch of its first Alexa-powered Echo speaker back in 2014, but more recently other big hitters such as Google and Apple have entered the market with their own offerings, putting pressure on sales of Amazon's growing range of smart speakers. Google, who is expanding into new markets in recent months with the Google Home lineup takes the second place at 26.5%.

Amazon is estimated to have shipped 4 million units during the period from January to March, but its global share of the market has fallen by nearly 50 percent from the same quarter a year ago.

However, while Apple is still a long way between market leaders Amazon and Google, it's worth noting that the HomePod didn't go on sale until 9 February, so Apple didn't have the full quarter to rack up sales. Alibaba, Apple and Xiaomi meanwhile advanced their shares from 0 percent to 7.6 percent, 6 percent, and 2.4 percent respectively. That doubled the 2 million devices it shipped during last year's first quarter. Alibaba and Xiaomi are leading the way in China and their strength in the domestic market alone is proving enough to propel them into the global top five. The company has largely dominated the smart speaker industry, but is now facing increased competition from Apple, Google, and Xiaomi. "We are clearly heading towards to a time in the not too distant future when voice becomes a standard mode of technology interaction alongside established approaches like keyboard, mouse and touchscreen". All three did not have a smart speaker to ship the previous year. As the sales of Amazon Echo products grew by 102% in the last quarter, Google's products registered an 709% growth.

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