Will Amazon Lose The Smart Home Throne?

As the first smart home speaker to market Amazon has certainly enjoyed being a leader in the space, but are the days of their dominance almost over?

We’re all familiar with smart speakers, for better or worse. Amazon has definitely made the biggest splash in the market, but Google and Apple are giving the mega-retailer a run for its money.

Here are a few things that Amazon has done right to hold its position as the go-to smart home speaker:

  • It was the first smart speaker available to purchase
  • It was the first to release other versions of the speaker, including a mini
  • It was the first to release a video-capable device
  • It has more products available in its Echo line than its competitors do in theirs
  • The price point for Echo products makes them not only affordable, but encourages multiple purchases for a single home
  • There are kids editions of Echo products, which come with filters in place
  • Amazon is working on acquisitions and partnerships that expand the reach and capabilities of the Echo features

Millions of households in the US are currently connected to a smart home speaker, but according to eMarketer, Amazon will lose about 10% of the market share in 2019 vs. 2017. Its main competitor is Google, who closely matches Amazon in price point and also has an expanded line of products. Apple and other smart speaker brands trail behind, either due to price point or due to late entry into the market.

Here’s what Google is doing to gain footing in the market:

  • Google is producing alternate versions of its Home device, including the Mini and the Google Home Max
  • The Google Home Hub has a screen and supports video, to compete with the Echo Show
  • The Google Home devices is available in several colors
  • The price point for these products is very competitive with the Amazon Echo line
  • Google owns Nest and is leveraging that

Here’s what Apple is doing to gain footing in the market:

  • Apple only has one smart speaker available to purchase
  • Apple chose to focus more on making a high end speaker than making one that would be affordable to the mass market
  • The speaker has been praised for its quality, even though it has a high price point and lacks some of the features the other brands have

One of the challenges that Amazon will face as it works to maintain its hold on the market isn’t so much its competitors, but instead a juxtaposition between the growth of late adopters with the stagnation of features. As late adopters finally start opening their wallets, they will find that they have more and more choices, but, right now many smart speaker users are failing to really use the devices for more than simple tasks like shopping list and listening to music. Amazon will need to be the first to push the next generation of smart speaker use if it wants to stay in the lead.