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Smart speaker market in China - statistics & facts

With the advent of industry 4.0, almost all sectors began to further their paths to digitalization, including the internet along the value chain; from manufacturing to finished products. A smart speaker is a perfect example of a product in industry 4.0 times. Initially with a sole purpose of playing sounds from other devices, smart speakers quickly opened a whole new chapter after virtual assistants began to be integrated a few years ago. Nowadays, smart speakers are essentially wireless speakers and act as voice user interface to major technology platforms like Google and Apple.

Worldwide, China is currently the biggest smart speaker market in terms of shipments, followed by the United States where most popular smart speaker brands around the world are based. Additionally, the smart speaker market in China has a more domestic ecology where Chinese tech giants like Alibaba, Xiaomi and Baidu altogether hold over 80 percent of the market share, as opposed to amounting to less than 30 percent globally.

It was estimated that the total number of smart speaker users in China would exceed 110 million by 2020, accounting for a share of 13.5 percent of internet users. Among all smart home products, home monitors have the highest ownership rate in China, which was closely followed by smart speakers. The most common places to use the smart speaker for Chinese are namely the living room and bedroom due to the gadget’s functions as music player, weather inquiry, personal organizer and the control to the smart home, which became an important part of their daily lives.

The model with highest satisfactory level of voice assistants among Chinese users was Xiaomi’s Xiao Ai, with satisfaction of around 50 percent, followed by Baidu’s DuerOS with 35 percent of respondents reporting being satisfied. In the same survey, international brands like Google’s assistant and Alexa had a user satisfaction level lower than that of the Chinese counterparts. Furthermore, another survey revealed that smart speakers with display screens generally perform better than those without, which might have pointed to potential way to improve user satisfaction levels.

In 2018, sales revenue of smart speakers in China surged to 3.72 billion yuan from barely 0.5 billion yuan in the previous year and was forecasted to surpass eleven billion by 2020. With Chinese being generally less concerned about data protection combined with the trait of tech-savviness, smart speakers are on the way to widespread popularization in China in the coming years.

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Smart speakers in China

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