Virtual assistants continue to present a significant opportunity for consumer electronics and automotive manufacturers alike, as a new report from Futuresource Consulting forecasts global shipments of 2.1 billion units in 2022. This represents a modest market expansion of 2%, following a period of sizeable turbulence during the COVID pandemic, during which many consumers brought forward purchases of consumer electronics devices.
“After strong rebound following the disturbance caused by the COVID-19 pandemic, the usual positive trajectory for the virtual assistant (VA) market will be curtailed this year,” explains Simon Forrest, Principal Technology Analyst, Futuresource Consulting. “The continued semiconductor shortages, corresponding perturbance in supply chains, and the deteriorating global economic situation more generally are slowing shipments of products with virtual assistant capabilities.”
In terms of assistant platforms, Google Assistant currently holds the largest market share, with the assistant available on almost one in every two VA-enabled devices worldwide. This is primarily due to its dominance across Android smartphones. Siri secures second position, at around one in every four devices, reflecting strong sales in Apple’s iPhone and AirPods. And Alexa holds a strong third position overall, with around one in every six voice-enabled devices globally integrating Amazon’s assistant technology.
When it comes to the regional view, APAC is far and away the world leader. At 46% of global share of VA-enabled shipments, it eclipses the Americas (29%) and EMEA (25%), with no signs of slowdown.
“Looking to the future, by 2026 almost three in every four consumer electronics devices sold will have either built-in or works-with assistant capability,” says Simon Forrest, Principal Analyst, Futuresource Consulting. “There is no sign of vendors abandoning the technology and instead investment continues in moving voice interfaces forward to more conversational platforms.”
Futuresource expects VA shipments to approach nearly 3.1 billion in 2026, which represents a 2022 to 2026 CAGR of 10%. Alongside this expansion, the global installed base will rise from 6.5 billion units this year, to 8.2 billion units over the same time period.
“As VA audio processing technology reaches maturation, we’re going to see a focus shift,” says Forrest. “AI improvements and the optimisation of language models will become the order of the day, in a drive to migrate more of the voice technology to devices.
“What’s more, the leading virtual assistant owners are already gearing up for an ambient intelligent world, in which AI and compute become all-pervasive, yet recede into the background by being more closely integrated into the environment. This is a future where voice interfaces become smarter and more powerful, while at the same time they can be embedded into more products.”
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