According to a report from Strategy Analytics, smart speaker sales reached 147 million units globally in 2019. This is a 70% growth over 2018.
Another analyst firm, Canalys, predicted earlier this 2020 that the smart speaker market would reach 150 million units globally in 2020.
Consumer Intelligence Research estimated back in August 2019 that the size of the smart speaker market was just under 80 million units in the U.S. alone.
In January 2020, Edison Research on its report said that the installed base of smart speakers in the U.S. market was nearly 160 million units.
So it can be speculated that around the world, about 200 million smart speakers and displays have been sold as of the end of 2019.
At the top of the list, is Amazon as it owns 26.2% of the market share. This is followed by Google with 20.3%.
Google is followed by three Chinese makers, which are Baidu, Alibaba and Xiaomi. At number 6, is Apple with a share of 4.7%.
Amazon introduced the Echo in November 6, 2014. In early 2019, the company announced more than 100 million Alexa-powered devices had been sold, and along the way, Amazon has added more than 100,000 Alexa skills users can access using their voice.
Google on the other hand, has the Google Home smart speaker, first introduced back in November 4, 2016, or two years after Echo. Google Home product boasts Google Assistant which is unlike Google Now as it can engage in two-way conversations.
Apple has the HomePod, the company's second speaker after the iPod Hi-Fi. Announced on 5 June 2017, at the Apple Worldwide Developers Conference, the product is designed to accompany other Apple products such as the iPhone or iMac.
Smart speakers are booming in the market, most notably because users can have a hands-free experience when interacting with the internet and connected devices.
This is because smart speakers can also act as a smart device that utilizes Wi-Fi, Bluetooth and other wireless protocols to extend usage beyond audio playback, such as to control Internet of Things (IoT) devices like home automation. This can include, and not limited to, features such as compatibility across a number of services and platforms, peer-to-peer connection through mesh networking, virtual assistants, and others.
Despite receiving generally favorable reviews, smart speakers have built-in microphones that can pose privacy concerns.
For example, these devices are continuously listening for "hot words" which should be followed by a command. This continuous listening raise privacy concerns because the smart speakers always listen, and there is no saying what or by how much their creators are recording and how the data will be used, protected, or be used for targeted advertising.
There were also reports about how some manufacturers hire third-party employees to listen to users' recordings in order to improve their products.