Even as Amazon works to have its Alexa digital assistant running on every imaginable piece of hardware, a new study suggests 2019 could be the first year Amazon’s artificial intelligence (A.I.) presence dips.
Specifically, eMarketer says 2019 will represent the first time that Alexa will have less than two-thirds market share. It’s not a huge decline (from 66.6 percent down to 63.3 percent) but noticeable nonetheless.
It will lose at least some of that market share to Google, which will pick up 1.5 percent. The company’s Home devices (along with its mobile presence via Android) is helping give the Google Assistant a massive customer foundation.
But the catch-all “other” category is where eMarketer thinks most of the growth will come from, jumping nearly four percent next year. The ‘other’ category accounts for brands such as Sonos, which have utilized the smart assistants made by Google and Amazon in some of their “smart speaker” products.
“Consumers in the market for a smart speaker have more options than ever, and Amazon will lose some of its majority share as a result,” said eMarketer forecasting analyst Jaimie Chung. “Google has the Home Mini and Home Hub to compete with Amazon’s Echo Dot and Echo Show, and both the Apple HomePod and Facebook Portal will experience their first holiday season this year. Amazon has remained relevant by plugging Alexa into premium speakers like the Sonos, but even Sonos plans to bring Google Assistant to its devices next year, keeping the two companies neck and neck in the voice assistant race.”
Another competitor: Apple’s Siri, which is present not only on iOS devices but also the HomePod smart speaker. Strategically, Apple focused on quality audio, which was a smart play to differentiate itself in a crowded market. The eMarketer data underscores that most digital assistants are used to stream music, podcasts, and the like. smart speaker users are using them to stream music, podcasts and the like.