U.S. Leads Global Smart Speaker Explosion

The U.S. will continue to lead the way in smart speaker adoption as the category explodes around the world — especially in China — with an installed base that’s expected to grow 82% in 2019, according tech research firm Canalys.

The worldwide installed base of smart speakers is predicted to grow from 114 million units in 2018 to almost 208 million units this year and the U.S. will account for 42% of that growth. Growth in the category is so furious that smart speakers are poised to surpass sales of tablets by 2021, while eclipsing sales of wearable tech by the end of 2019.

Canalys sees services that go beyond music streaming as playing a role in the expanding market. “Smart assistants are becoming a conduit to offer services, such as assisted living, healthcare, and government services,” said senior analyst Jason Low, noting that smart speakers and displays are still relatively new device categories for service entities.

China will experience the fastest growth in smart speakers as its installed base reaches almost 60 million by the end of 2019, representing meteoric growth of 166%.