In less than a few years, smart speakers have conquered the market. In this article, we dive into the two most popular smart assistants of the moment: Amazon Alexa and Google Home. So far, who is winning this battle of voice assistants?
According to the Fing systems, Alexa is the market leader in terms of smart assistants. We can attribute its success to the first-mover advantage Amazon had by releasing its smart speakers before anyone else. In fact, Alexa was introduced from 4 to 17 months earlier concerning Google Home. At the same time, both Alexa and Google Home experience a peak in trend growth, followed by a slowdown due to the products’ maturity.
These two tools represent the two giants in the field and have been in the market since approximately 2016. The following table shows the specific release dates in the geographical areas of greatest interest: US, Europe and the rest of the world (RoW).
As you can see, Amazon definitely has the advantage of releasing its smart speaker before Google, which leads to its dominance in the market for the first few years. Moreover, the first releases happened in the United States for both Alexa and Google, which then exported these products in Europe and afterwards in almost 80 countries.
Alexa vs Google Home: an in-depth analysis
The charts below are divided by the geographical areas previously mentioned. They show the distribution and trends of these two voice assistants starting from January 2017 (just a few months after the release of Google Home). Specifically, these charts collect anonymized data collected from Fing systems.
Let’s start with the United States distribution data, shown in the chart below, which display the clear dominance of Alexa over Google Home in the first couple of years. The reason behind this is the first-mover advantage Amazon had over Google by releasing its smart assistant before the other. In fact, Alexa had been in the US market for more than one year by the start of 2017, when Google Home was introduced. At the end of this year, Google Home was able to reach 20% of share against the 80% of Amazon. Google had to wait two more years, until now, to double its presence in the market, gaining 40%, in contrast to Amazon, which still is the leader in the States.
The next graph, which you can see below, presents the two big names’ growth trends in the voice assistant market in the US. As displayed in the chart, Amazon reached its peak by the end of 2017, followed by a surprisingly drastic decline. Right after the trend peak of Amazon, Google was able to peak as well, with a higher percentage than its main competitor. However, Google trends also experienced a significant decline in the years that followed, while remaining higher than Amazon.
The European charts follow a very similar path to the one from the States. Like in the US, the market share of Google Home has been growing exponentially since its release, obtaining 20% of market share by the end of 2017 and reaching almost 40% towards the end of 2019. Simultaneously, Alexa has been losing market share since its competitor’s release, decreasing by almost 30% but remaining the leader in the market.
What described above becomes clear by looking at the graph below, where there is an awfully high peak in Google Home’s distribution at the release date in Europe. The trends see Google always ahead of Amazon, just like in the United States.
Unexpectedly, the rest of the world responded differently to the two smart assistants than Europe and the United States. In fact, Google Home was able to compete at the same level as Alexa from its very first steps at the beginning of 2018. From the data shown in this chart, we can clearly state that Google Home is widely preferred to Alexa in the rest of the world, with a 70% distribution.
Logically, in evaluating this situation, it should be taken into account that a large part of the RoW is influenced by the Chinese market, which is not so inclined to use products from the western world. In fact, in China and Asia in general, new voice assistants marked Baidu, Alibaba and Xiaomi have become increasingly popular in recent months, to mention some makers from the Asian market.
Even though the rest of the world’s distribution differs from the ones of Europe and the United States, the trends follow the same direction as previous trend-charts we have shown. Google Home trends seem to prevail over Alexa in the rest of the world as well.
So, who will win the tough challenge between the two big companies? We can surely affirm that Alexa is the market leader of smart assistants in terms of distribution in the US and Europe, even though Google Home appears to be the leader in the rest of the world. The market share of Amazon is decreasing in the US, Europe and the rest of the world, while Google market share is increasing. Regarding trend growth, both Amazon and Google have suffered from a slowdown after reaching the product maturity stage.