A new report assumes that the market for smart speakers will continue its rapid pace of growth. Google and Amazon are fighting for supremacy and Apple remains in third place.

According to Canalys, by the end of 2018, the number of smart speakers used will be just under 100 million, by the end of 2017 it will be under 50 million. Canalys expects the market to more than double to 225 million units by 2020.

Along the way, Amazon will continue to see its market share slip, says Canalys. The company will give Amazon Echo devices about 50 percent of the installed base in 2018, but by 2022 that will drop to 34 percent. To the same extent, Google's home will grow from 20 percent in 2022 to 34 percent – and even pull off the two giants.

In the meantime, Apple's HomePod only accounts for 4 percent of the installed space for smart speakers, a figure that should rise to about 10 percent by 2022.

It is noteworthy that the company has no figures for Sonos, the spokesman who is trying to run in this market, spreads and submitted only for an IPO.

"The rapid growth of the installed base of smart speakers is itself a growth driver," said Canalys analyst Ben Stanton. "Amazon and Google want to prove to the developers the scope and reach of their platforms."

As with other emerging platforms, the battle for supremacy in the category of smart speakers will increasingly be about attracting developers, says Canalys. Both Google and Amazon will fight for market share to demonstrate their value and reach those developers whose creations will help to increase device appeal for new customers and markets.

Behind the horizon, however, is a fierce battle for the Chinese market.

According to Canalys, the US market is by far the largest market, with 73 percent of all units at the end of 2017. China has only 3 percent.

But by the end of 2018, Canalys expects the US share to fall to 64 percent, while China will rise to 10 percent, an indication of how quickly this country's market interest is rising. It will be crucial for Apple, Google and Amazon to gain a foothold in this market, but they will also face intense local competition.

"China is still a nascent smart speaker market, but it's a sleeping giant," said Canalys research analyst Hattie He in a statement. "Local players like Alibaba and Xiaomi are investing heavily … China has enormous potential, with more than 450 million households, more than three times as many as in the US."


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