Tech companies are betting that the future of personal computing will be driven by the sound of your voice.
If they’re right, this early stage of smart speaker adoption will have a massive impact on future profits. Switching smartphone brands is relatively straightforward, but switching an entire voice assistant ecosystem? That’s not quite as easy.
Voice Assistants like Siri and Alexa will transform behavior inside the home. At the center of that behavior is a smart speaker, serving as the hub of a connected lifestyle.
– Andy Chambers, Vice President of Connected Home, Assurant
Today’s infographic is an overview of the rapidly expanding smart speaker market, and how the major players in the space are competing for critical early market share.
Moving towards Majority
Adoption of smart speakers really began to gain traction with consumers in 2018, when the percentage of American adults with such a device passed the 20% mark. Today, the U.S. adoption rate sits at about 25%, and by 2022, it’s expected to more than double to 55%.
In just one year, China’s global share of the smart speaker market went from almost zero to 30%, and the country’s smart home market was valued at over $7 billion. Companies like Baidu and Alibaba are fighting their own battle for domestic market share.
Amazon’s Head Start
It has now been almost five years since Amazon announced Alexa and the Echo to the world, kicking off the age of the smart speaker.
The sting of Amazon’s failed foray into the smartphone market was still fresh, and the initial reaction to a device listening inside the home was mixed. That said, Amazon’s huge built-in customer base and two-year head start was enough to bag a hefty portion of the smart speaker market. Now, other brands are playing catch-up.
Here’s a look at U.S. smart speaker market share by device:
|Company||Device||Voice Assistant||Market Share|
|Amazon||Echo or Plus||Alexa||23.2%|
|Home Mini||Google Assistant||11.2%|
|Home Hub||Google Assistant||1.2%|
|Home Max||Google Assistant||0.2%|
The Fight is Heating Up
Companies are responding to Amazon’s market dominance in different ways.
Apple recently dropped the price of its HomePod smart speaker to $299, a rare price cut for a company that is used to people lining up to buy its products. Unlike its competitors, Apple can’t go all-in on using the device as a “loss leader” to support advertising or e-commerce. HomePod is positioned as a more premium product, but price will be a sticking point for many.
Google, on the other hand, is taking a drastically different approach. The company released the Google Home Mini as a cost effective entry point for consumers looking to try out a voice-directed device.
As well, Google partnered with Spotify to offer Home Minis as a free promotion for Spotify Premium customers. Spotify’s premium userbase is nearly 90 million, so if even a fraction of users take the free offer, a massive influx of Google smart speakers will enter the market.
Over the last year, Amazon saw over 10% of its market share chipped away by competitors, and Google accounted for about half of that loss.
What’s Next? It’s Hard to Say
With the promise of future connected home profits on the line, it’s hard to say what lengths companies will go to outmanoeuver each other. One thing is clear though, the overall smart speaker market is still in the midst of a major growth cycle, and we’re just seeing the beginning of what’s possible with voice-directed devices.
The Impressive Stats Behind Amazon’s Dominance of the Cloud
Do you watch Netflix or use Facebook? If so, then you are indirectly leveraging Amazon’s incredible scale and dominance of the cloud.
To the average person, cloud computing must seem quite magical.
All at once, the cloud provides instant access to all of your data, photos, music, and applications, without you having to store any of that data locally. In fact, users can access the cloud from practically anywhere in the world, and across multiple devices and platforms.
Yet, this all happens without you actually seeing any visible infrastructure. With data now being created at record speeds, where the heck is all this information being physically stored?
The Rise of AWS
Even though you can’t see the vast infrastructure that runs the cloud, it does exist somewhere.
As today’s infographic from RapidValue shows, much of this infrastructure is owned and operated by Amazon, through its extremely profitable subsidiary of Amazon Web Services (AWS).
Here are the key stats on this dominant service that powers much of the internet today:
Amazon Web Services (AWS) quietly launched in 2002, and in a short time has been able to scale into the largest single player in cloud computing (IaaS, PaaS).
While it is a well-known name to software developers, AWS emerged on a more mainstream basis once its financials were separated from those of parent Amazon.com.
Even in 2018, AWS delivered most of Amazon’s operating income.
AWS By the Numbers
To understand the true scale of AWS, you need to look at the numbers.
- AWS has over 1 million active users in 190 countries
- AWS has 5x more deployed cloud infrastructure as their next 14 competitors combined
- Each day, AWS adds as much infrastructure as they used to run in total 7 years back
- Amazon S3 is designed to deliver 99.999999999% durability and scale past trillions of objects worldwide
- AWS partner, Netflix, accounts for up to one-third of Internet traffic during peak usage times
- AWS accounts for 41.5% of the public cloud market, bigger than Microsoft, Google, Rackspace, and IBM combined
Through incredible economies of scale, AWS has decreased its prices at least as many as 60 times since its launch – and despite this, AWS generated a whopping $26 billion in revenue for parent Amazon in 2018.
Walmart Nation: Mapping America’s Biggest Employers
On this map of biggest employers in each state, there’s one regional trend that stands out the most – the broad blue expanse of Walmart country.
Walmart Nation: Mapping America’s Biggest Employers
In America, approximately 150 million people are currently employed, doing everything from neurosurgery to greeting customers at your local Walmart Supercenter.
While there is a breathtaking variety of jobs out there, a few large-scale organizations stand out as the top employer in each state.
The Largest Employer in Each State
The U.S. is the third most populous country in the world, so it takes a lot of manpower to keep the government running. It’ll come as no surprise that, in most states, either the state or federal government is the top employer. California alone employs a quarter of a million federal workers.
New York State is a unique case as NYC’s municipal workforce is the top employer.
Technically, the largest employer on the planet is the U.S. Department of Defense, and in eight states, there are more active military personnel than any single private employer.
When we exclude direct government and military employment, a few trends emerge. Universities and hospitals – there is often some overlap between the two – are top employers in nearly half of the states.
In a handful of cases, the top employer reflects an industry that is well known in the region. General Motors, for example, is still the top employer in Michigan. In Nevada? MGM Resorts International, with over 55,000 employees.
When it comes to large-scale employment, there’s one regional trend that stands out the most – the broad blue expanse of Walmart country.
View the high resolution version of today’s graphic by clicking here.
Walmart is the biggest company in the world by revenue, and there are over 3,500 Walmart Supercenters spread around the United States alone. It takes about 1% of private sector workforce in the United States to keep this massive fleet of big box stores running. In Arkansas, that figure jumps up to 4%, with about one-third of the total retail workforce employed at the retail giant.
Here’s a full look at the 21 states where Walmart is the top employer.
|State||# of Walmart Employees|
What About Amazon?
When we talk about the retail industry, it’s impossible to avoid discussing Amazon. The e-commerce company is growing at an impressive clip, and is now the second largest private employer in the country, with over half a million employees.
That said, even with the acquisition of Whole Foods, Amazon still has a long way to go to catch up to Walmart’s massive employee count. The company’s reliance on contract workers and supply chain automation means that this map is unlikely to turn orange in the near future.
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