The global virtual assistant market posted another strong year in 2020, achieving 15% shipment growth. That’s despite the challenge of the COVID-19 pandemic, which applied the brakes to many industries and CE categories.
Futuresource Consulting’s latest market tracker shows that VA-enabled sales in the audio/visual and personal electronics product categories have paved the way for profits, with trends shaping a positive future for the technology.
“Although the pandemic did weaken the market for virtual assistants, its impact was short-lived,” says Simon Forrest, Principal Technology Analyst at Futuresource Consulting. “We didn’t see the bleak picture that was initially painted by many in the industry. Compared to the 24% unit growth in 2019, last year’s 15% increase is an isolated slowdown, and one that underlines the consumer’s continued love affair with virtual assistant-enabled devices.”
Across all product categories worldwide, Apple’s Siri and Google Assistant were tied in top position for market share in the first half of 2021. Baidu was close behind, even though it only operates within the Chinese market.
“Increasingly, we’re seeing Alexa and Google Assistant residing together on the same device,” says Forrest. “This ‘multiple’ category now accounts for nearly one in every four devices and is presenting some market players additional market share, almost by stealth.”
“Looking to the regions, AsiaPac is the rising star, with our forecasts placing it on course to capture almost half the global market by the end of this year. That’s due to the rise of Chinese language VAs, with Baidu’s DuerOS leading the charge. Across EMEA, Google Assistant leads the way, with Siri the primary player in the Americas.”
Moving forward, Futuresource expects the VA-enabled market to continue to perform, achieving a shipment CAGR of 14% out to 2025. By that time, the global installed base across CE and automotive segments will have more than doubled compared with 2020, exceeding 8.5 billion units according to Futuresource projections. What’s more, four in every five CE products will have virtual assistant capability by 2025.
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