Global shipments of Wi-Fi based wireless speakers grew 62% in 2016 to 14 million units with Amazon accounting for 77% of the increased volume demand. The company is said to have shipped over 5 million Echo speakers in 2016 compared to just over 4 million from Sonos.
“Amazon has hit upon a winning formula with its Alexa-powered series of Echo speakers and its rapid success has clearly sent shock waves through the industry” says David Watkins, Director within the Intelligent Home Group at Strategy Analytics. “However, we believe that demand for Amazon’s own brand devices is having largely an additive effect on the overall wireless speaker market particularly when you consider that the popular Echo Dot is often paired via Bluetooth to a better quality speaker.”
“Sonos has long been synonymous with connected home audio and as recently as 2014 it accounted for 50% of the small but growing Wi-Fi speaker market” continues Watkins. “Although Sonos is losing share as new players enter the Wi-Fi speaker space, its dominant position at the high-end of the market remains untouched. Apple’s upcoming HomePod speaker will pose more of a direct challenge to Sonos given the HomePod’s high price point and Apple’s decision to focus its marketing efforts on the speaker’s sound quality and music streaming capabilities rather than its ability to be controlled via Siri.”
It's predicted that voice activated smart speakers will account for 90% of all Wi-Fi speakers by 2022 up from 42% last year.