Analysts expect voice assistant device shipments to quadruple in 2017


Amazon first launched its Alexa-enabled Echo speaker ecosystem in 2015 and since then it’s evolved from a novelty to have in your home to a powerhouse for productivity using only your voice. Amazon now has 7 million Echo devices in households worldwide and now Google hopes to expand in much the same manner with Google Home.

The ability to use conversational voice to interact with your home is pretty much what every kid who ever watched the Jetsons dreamed of having, so it’s no surprise that analysts familiar with this area of technology are predicting that voice assistant-enabled device sales wil skyrocket this year.

As you can see by the chart above, device shipments in 2016 totaled about 6.5 million, while VoiceLabs predicts there will be at least 24.5 million devices shipped this year. The interesting thing here is that in a survey of current Amazon Echo and Google Home owners, VoiceLabs determined that only 11% of people are interesting in competing devices.

That means once someone buys into a voice assistant ecosystem, they’re likely to stick with their purchase rather than trying out competitors. VoiceLabs believes Amazon has a leg up in this race, thanks to its ability to incorporate third-party hardware with other consumer electronics.

That’s not to say that Google Home is out of the running already despite Amazon’s significant lead on the competition. VoiceLabs has broken down how competitors in the space plan on specializing to make each of these new voice assistants different from the others already available on the market.

  • Google is going to excel at mining the web and providing intelligent responses to general knowledge questions.
  • Amazon is going to excel at commerce.
  • Google and Microsoft should excel at email, contacts and calendar.
  • Microsoft has a huge opportunity to excel at gaming.
  • Google and Amazon are going to battle for hands-free TV and home automation.
  • Apple is betting on AirPods for on-the-go use cases, and should have an Apple TV voice strategy.
  • All players will battle to become the go to controller of the kitchen, living room and bedroom.

If you have a Google Home or an Amazon Echo already, do you see yourself buying into the opposite ecosystem to experience it before decking out your home? Are you happy with either in their current state? Let us know in the comments.


Writer, gamer, and classical music whistler. I have an undying love of indie games and unique apps.

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