Amazon remained the leader in the Indian smart speaker market with a 59 percent share in 2018 as a total of 753,000 units were shipped last year in the country, International Data Corporation (IDC)'s India Monthly Smart Speaker Device Tracker said. Google, which launched its devices in the second quarter of 2018, captured the second spot with 39 percent unit share for the year.
The market research firm said Google Home Mini outsold all other smart speaker models, emerging as a top seller. However, the Echo Dot with its second and third generation models was the most dominant series with four out of ten devices sold in the country. According to IDC, a smart speaker is a speaker that is embedded with a smart assistant directly in it, and since the introduction of these devices in 2017Q4, more than half a dozen companies have launched their devices in this category.
“Though the smart speaker is a relatively young product in India, the integration of voice assistants such as Alexa and Google Assistant in smart devices is gaining immense popularity in the country. The main driver of the early adoption so far is the novelty factor around this technology. However, it is certainly driving the shift in consumer behaviour and accelerating the adoption of voice interfaces in India,” Jaipal Singh , Associate Research Manager, Client Devices, IDC India, said in a statement.
When it comes to the segment-wise segregation, the consumer segment contributed to the majority of smart speaker sales in the country, and the purchase by enterprises also witnessed a surge during the festival time, primarily for gifting purposes. The actual enterprise adoption for vertical specific use cases remains at a nascent stage, IDC says. On the sales on different channels, the market research firm said that the preferred channel for smart speakers was online and 55 percent of the smart speakers were sold on this medium.
“Conversational computing is currently being driven by voice assistants which are becoming more pervasive and are being embraced in a positive way in India. Many Indians are using voice assistants for the first time in their smartphones - some even using them in their feature phones - now with more localized and enhanced use cases, they want to use voice interfaces in more and more devices,” Navkendar Singh , Research Director, IDC India, added.
Singh notes that voice as an input will potentially revolutionise the way people interact with devices. For the online literate, the voice will be an add on, however, the real potential is said to be seen when people who are not yet online due to literacy will start using voice as their medium of online communication. “While India presents an unmatched opportunity for device makers and services providers, its diversity with scores of languages and hundreds of dialects will pose questions on how to make services relevant for the huge potential user base beyond big cities.” Singh added.