What does a Voice-Activated Speaker mean to Your Wallet?
This past week, at their annual World Wide Developers Conference, Apple took a shot at further dominance of your wallet.
This shot across the bow looked a lot like an innocent home speaker.
In reality, the shot was more much more virtual.
Virtual Assistant: Music vs Shopping
Amazon launched Echo in 2014.
Overnight Alexa became the de facto market for Voice-Activated Speakers.
Positioned as a virtual home assistant, Alexa helps access the web and Amazon services (fairly) seamlessly.
Then came Google Home.
Google is the entry point to information for most people on the web. It stands to reason their solution should – and will likely – become a popular one.
The latest stats show that Amazon has a 3:1 market share lead over Google.
Was HomePod from Apple the ‘shot heard round the world’? Perhaps.
It is interesting that Apple focused on HomePod’s music capabilities first and foremost.
Especially since significant improvements are coming to Siri.
Adding a Voice-Activated Speaker helps Apple build on advantages they already have.
For many, Siri exists on their mobile phone and their computer.
The more prevalent an AI-assistant becomes, by definition, the more useful.
It positions Apple well for the future of the connected home and the Internet of Things.
Clearly this is an important strategy for Apple as they have been often criticized for being late to the party.
Shopping vs Search vs Music
Apple, Amazon and Google are the “holy trinity of technology”.
These brands play a central role in most of our lives.
The fact that they all want a piece of the Connected Home is no surprise.
What may be a surprise is which will win.
43% of all online retail sales are estimated to go through Amazon. Said another way, they OWN online shopping. Shopping is a huge use case for AI assistants. The future looks bright, too, as Amazon has recently inked deals for adding Alexa-like capabilities into cars from General Mills and Ford. If you want to buy, Amazon wins.
To search is to Google. To Google is to search.
Google market share for search in the US is over 87%. It’s even higher (96%) when only mobile is included. Google also owns over 45% market share with its Chrome browser. Google is dominant when people search for information across platforms. If you want information, Google wins.
The latest entrant (if an announcement makes you a player) actually has a head start. They have (slight) share ownership of mobile phones (54%). More than devices (like iPads and Macs), Apple has over 800 million customers with accounts. So, chances you have used – and likely bought – something from Apple, too. If you want seamless technology – and care about past purchases – Apple (may) win.
So, who will win?
One thing is for certain: The Voice-Activated Speaker market is a competitive battleground.
It is likely that the winner here will own the Connected Home.
Despite the inherent advantages that exist for Google and Apple, it’s hard to imagine Amazon will stumble.