Monday, 26 October 2020 07:42

Global smart speaker shipments forecast to reach 163m next year

Global smart speaker shipments forecast to reach 163m next year Pixabay

The global smart speaker market, including smart displays, will reach 163 million units in 2021, the tech analyst firm Canalys says, adding that this would represent growth of 21% year-on-year.

The company said in a blog post that in 2020, mainland China, which has got the COVID-19 outbreak under control, would be the leader, with growth of 16% while the remainder of the market was expected to grow 3% as countries continued to fight the coronavirus.

In April last year, Canalys had forecast that adoption of smart speakers would grow by 82.4%, from 114 million units in 2018 to 207.9 million in 2019, and that the US would keep its lead in smart speaker adoption with 42.2% of the installed base by the end of 2019.

In the latest forecast, the company said that the growing demand for entertainment due to people having to stay at home had led platform vendors to release new smart speakers and displays, with the form factor being more and more simplified.

“The challenge is to bring noticeable improvements and innovation with minimal increase in costs,” said Canalys research manager Jason Low.

smar speaker canalys

“Amazon and Google are striving to spark interest by breaking the speaker mould, each taking different design routes aimed to obtain sound quality improvements, not only with physical design changes, but also introducing additional elements of computational audio.

"In the future, a customer’s listening experience will be increasingly adaptable and driven by AI.”

He said Apple had much to prove to attract users, especially as the HomePod mini, launched this month, was up against other new US$99 (A$138.7) devices, which were bigger and with assistants perceived to be smarter.

Said Low: “Apple must deliver its acclaimed premium user experience by leveraging its proprietary ecosystem of hardware, software and services.

"The HomePod mini would give its competitors a run for their money if the sound quality proves to be better despite its smaller size, and if the UWB and Intercom features work seamlessly for users.”

smart speaker canalys two

Given that Apple is the only global platform vendor selling hardware and services in China, research analyst Cynthia Chen said the US$99 (about 700 yuan) segment was more or less a no-man's land in the country, yet adequate to appeal to the company's user base.

"Apple should take this opportunity to drive the uptake of its music and other services consumed at home,” she added.

Canalys said the installed base of smart speakers was expected to reach 640 million by 2024. “From the speed of response, to the skills and real-world tasks smart assistants can help complete, the job of building great hardware and smart assistant features falls to platform vendors with the resources and business models to support such endeavours," said Low.

"However, the smart assistant ecosystem needs to be supported by third-party developers, hardware vendors, and service providers. It is crucial for ecosystem partners to pay close attention to what platform vendors achieve, while having a keen sense to uncover new use cases as users shift habits amid the ongoing pandemic.”

Read 1877 times

Please join our community here and become a VIP.

Subscribe to ITWIRE UPDATE Newsletter here
JOIN our iTWireTV our YouTube Community here


If you're looking at enabling Microsoft Teams for your contact centre, you should bookmark this webinar.

Marketing budgets are now focused on Webinars combined with Lead Generation.

Our panellists from Whangarei District Council (NZ) and Maurice Blackburn Lawyers (Aus) were closely involved in recent projects to enable Microsoft Teams for their own contact centres.

They have kindly agreed to join Enghouse and Microsoft to talk about some of the things they would recommend as most critical for IT and CX professionals planning a Teams Contact Centre migration.

Date: 11 May 2022
Time: 12pm AEST | 2pm NZST | 10am SGT

We look forward to having you join us. Please click the button below to register.



The past year has seen a meteoric rise in ransomware incidents worldwide.

Over the past 12 months, SonicWall Capture Labs threat researchers have diligently tracked the meteoric rise in cyberattacks, as well as trends and activity across all threat vectors, including:

Encrypted threats
IoT malware
Zero-day attacks and more

These exclusive findings are now available via the 2022 SonicWall Cyber Threat Report, which ensures SMBs, government agencies, enterprises and other organizations have the actionable threat intelligence needed to combat the rising tide of cybercrime.

Click the button below to get the report.



It's all about Webinars.

Marketing budgets are now focused on Webinars combined with Lead Generation.

If you wish to promote a Webinar we recommend at least a 3 to 4 week campaign prior to your event.

The iTWire campaign will include extensive adverts on our News Site and prominent Newsletter promotion and Promotional News & Editorial. Plus a video interview of the key speaker on iTWire TV which will be used in Promotional Posts on the iTWire Home Page.

Now we are coming out of Lockdown iTWire will be focussed to assisting with your webinars and campaigns and assistance via part payments and extended terms, a Webinar Business Booster Pack and other supportive programs. We can also create your adverts and written content plus coordinate your video interview.

We look forward to discussing your campaign goals with you. Please click the button below.


Sam Varghese

Sam Varghese has been writing for iTWire since 2006, a year after the site came into existence. For nearly a decade thereafter, he wrote mostly about free and open source software, based on his own use of this genre of software. Since May 2016, he has been writing across many areas of technology. He has been a journalist for nearly 40 years in India (Indian Express and Deccan Herald), the UAE (Khaleej Times) and Australia (Daily Commercial News (now defunct) and The Age). His personal blog is titled Irregular Expression.

Share News tips for the iTWire Journalists? Your tip will be anonymous




Guest Opinion

Guest Interviews

Guest Reviews

Guest Research

Guest Research & Case Studies

Channel News