The Rise of Smart Speakers: Overtaking Tablet Usage by 2021

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By 2021, it is estimated there will be more smart speakers used around the world than tablets, according to Canalys.

The smart speaker base will grow from around 114 million to 208 million in 2020.

The US is the largest market, and Asia is on the rise. The US is projected to remain the largest market, with 42% of ownership of smart speakers around the world.

In Asia and China, however, Google and Amazon do not have a strong foothold. This means there is a big opportunity for many different platforms.

The tablet market has been on a decline for a while. With larger smartphones and phablets becoming the norm, the niche the tablet once filled has become less and less important.

With smart speakers becoming so integral to the home and on-the-go usage, marketing for these products and platforms has yet to be fully explored and taken advantage of.

What are the smart speaker options?

Google has the home hub, with a number of similar devices out there. These are almost smart speaker and tablet hybrids. Essentially, a microphone/speaker with a screen to display information. These would be displayed around the home.

Screen-based smart speakers will also mean that search, display and video ads could be very useful. But these devices are still a niche of the smart speaker userbase, which has not yet infiltrated every single household like the mobile phone or even tablet once maybe had.

Apple has the HomePod, but hasn’t been a big success. Google and Amazon’s comparable devices were cheaper and achieve the same results. Amazon go after the budget market with the Fire tablet devices, and obviously have the advantage that people will use these devices to shop on Amazon. The Echo speakers have been some of the most popular, and they have their own Echo Show with a screen.

Facebook introduced the Portal, but with the privacy concerns swirling around, this never really took ahold. Facebook is not exactly in a good place right now, despite the dominant position it has in social media.

Why pay attention to smart speakers?

Voice shopping will be an important thing to consider in the upcoming years.

Amazon has 80,000 voice apps for Alexa. This essentially means it has many, many functions and will surely grow to accomodate more.

Smart speakers can enhance customer experiences, and can pair with other devices with new advantages. With smart speakers connected to other tablets, phones, televisions and other devices around the home, it is new territory for how marketers will make the most of connected homes. And voice search and voice commands on-the-go, whether on a phone or otherwise.

Smartwatches also have voice search, so that is another avenue. But the interesting part about smart speakers is how people will interact with them, and how popular they have become.