New numbers from Canalys point to a strong growth in smart speaker shipments in Mainland China this year. The market is on track to grow in 2020, having gotten the COVID-19 pandemic mostly under control in recent months. The rest of the world — much of which continues to struggle with the virus — is only expected to see a 3% growth this year.
The global market will return to greater growth, per the firm, with numbers hitting 163 million units in 2021, marking a 21% growth overall. In spite of a slow down in purchasing non-essentials, a prolonged shutdown in many areas should lead more consumers to consider the possibility of introducing new devices into their homes — or replacing older and outdated units.
The last couple of months have been fairly busy for such products. Amazon, Google and Apple have all announced refreshes or additions to their smart speaker line. Google recently refreshed its baseline Home devices with new hardware and a new name, as the Nest Audio. Various Echo devices were updated as well, and Apple has finally introduced the long-awaited — and significantly less expensive — HomePod mini.
Canalys notes that Apple is the only one of the big three U.S. companies to sell their own smart speakers in Mainland China, and the new price point could help the company build more of a footprint in the market.
“The US $99 price segment is pretty much a no-mans-land in China, yet adequate to appeal to Apple’s user-base,” analyst Cynthia Chen says in a release. “Apple should take this opportunity to drive the uptake of its music and other services consumed at home.”