Tech Amazon's Alexa is dominating the smart speaker landscape (AMZN, GOOG, GOOGL)

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Amazon’s voice-oriented "Alexa everywhere" strategy is paying off.

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amazon echo installed base

(BI Intelligence)
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Amazon’s voice-oriented "Alexa everywhere" strategy is paying off. The company’s AI-powered voice assistant, Alexa, runs on 68% of the smart speakers sold so far in 2017 in the US, according to data from Strategy Analytics.

This includes Echos created by Amazon and other third-party smart speakers with built-in Alexa support. Meanwhile, Google Assistant runs on just over 20% of the smart speakers sold during the year.

The leading voice assistant vendors, Amazon and Google, are going toe-to-toe to capture a greater foothold in the voice assistant landscape, both announcing updates to their platforms Thursday.

  • Amazon’s Alexa can now recognize individual voices to service multiple users.Distinguished voice profiles enable Alexa to personalize its responses for everyone in the home, allowing multiple user accounts to interact with the voice assistant. The update comes months after Google introduced the same capability in April.
  • Google teamed up with Target to enable voice-activated shopping. Shoppers can make Target purchases using Google Express, the company's voice-activated shopping platform, through a Google-Assistant-enabled device or smartphone. Earlier in the year, Google announced a partnership with Walmart to offer personalized voice shopping. These moves are part of Google’s strategy to increase the footprint of its voice assistant, as customers of both Walmart and Target — Amazon’s biggest rivals — use Google Assistant, as opposed to Alexa, for online ordering.

But first-party manufacturers’ dominance over the smart speaker market may be short-lived. Although Amazon, Google, and Chinese tech giant Baidu will account for the overwhelming majority of smart speaker sales this year, their dominance will cool by 2020, with their collective share of the market expected to drop to under 70%. These companies will begin focusing on developing their voice assistants, leaving third-party manufacturers to run hardware developments of smart speaker devices.

Meanwhile, Apple is building up an ecosystem of voice-connected devices, which is well positioned to corner off a swath of the voice market. The company is banking on its heavily integrated ecosystem to drive the adoption and usage of Siri. For instance, Apple integrated Siri into the iPhone, Apple Watch, Apple TV, Mac, Airpods, as well as the upcoming HomePod. A vast ecosystem of connected devices will boost Siri’s reach and dominance in the voice assistant landscape.

Jessica Smith, research analyst for BI Intelligence, Business Insider's premium research service, has compiled a detailed report on the voice assistant landscape that:

  • Identifies the major changes in technology and user behavior that have created the voice assistant market that exists today.
  • Presents the major players in today's market and discusses their major weaknesses and strengths.
  • Explores the impact this nascent market poses to other key digital industries.
  • Identifies the major hurdles that need to be overcome before intelligent voice assistants will see mass adoption.

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