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Apple’s HomePod mini is officially the world’s best-selling smart speaker

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While the global smartphone market suffered a lot in the early stages of the coronavirus pandemic, younger and less saturated segments of the tech industry have impressively managed to sustain their growth in recent years.

Smart speaker sales, for example, registered just one quarter-over-year decline in the market’s history…until the first three months of 2022. That’s right, the first quarter of this year hasn’t been great for the Amazon-dominated industry. , which is somewhat surprising 4.5 percent contracted compared to Q1 2021

What happened and who won?

That seemingly shocking contraction comes as less of a surprise when you realize that Alibaba, Baidu and Xiaomi are three of the six largest global suppliers. These companies are almost entirely dependent on domestic production and domestic sales, both of which proved problematic between January and March 2022 due to “unprecedented resurgence of COVID-19 that has shut down everyday life for many Chinese”.

The double-digit declines of the three contributed greatly to: Apple’s rise to the vendor podium, though Amazon and Google continue to look unassailable in their gold and silver medal positions, respectively. It would, of course, be extremely unfair to attribute the HomePod mini’s rise to renewed Chinese lockdowns and other market disruptions caused only by the Russian invasion of Ukraine, especially given another notable feat of the little Siri-enabled speaker.
For the first time ever, Apple has the world’s best-selling smart speaker model, beating Amazon’s fourth-generation Echo Dot and Google’s Nest Mini, both of which are significantly cheaper than the HomePod mini.
In all, 4.5 million HomePod mini copies were moved in the first quarter of 2022, enough for 12.7 percent of a pie of 35.3 million units, which is a pretty incredible feat for the maker of just one smart speaker ( after the retirement of the “standard” HomePod).

Almost everyone is in trouble now

With many more models under their belts, Amazon and Google are at 28.2 and 17.2 percent respectively, after fairly modest single-digit growth compared to the first quarter of last year.

Looking ahead, the above-mentioned top three Chinese players are expected to recover… at the earliest by mid-2023, while the top three global suppliers themselves will have to overcome some major challenges… somehow. In particular, the US market is beginning to show clear signs of saturation, making the lives of Amazon, Google, and Apple, with the latter also having to worry about “exhausting opportunities to sell HomePods to its iPhone customer base”.

In other words, the HomePod mini’s astonishing and somewhat unexpected success story could be short-lived, and the manufacturer’s growth is likely to “slow down significantly” in 2023. It remains to be seen if Apple will attempt to take this wave of global popularity… somehow and release a new smart speaker by then, although we have absolutely no rumors on that front, we highly doubt that such a device is somewhere on the horizon.

Meanwhile, Amazon and Google are expected to focus primarily on “upselling additional devices to consumers or encouraging them to update older models” in the future, as the existing user base is unlikely to expand much further.

That’s where that mysterious next-gen Nest Hub smart display with standalone tablet functionality, for example, could be coming in, while Amazon may or may not try to promote and distribute its giant Echo show 15.

Speaking of smart displays, the cheap second-gen Echo Show 5 dominated that subcategory in Q1 2022, followed by Google’s 7-inch Nest Hub and the second-gen Echo Show 8 to essentially prove that the market isn’t ready to embrace even more expensive models. with large touchscreens.

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