If you use one sentence to describe the domestic smart speaker market in 2018, “tear eyes are mad, and the C-end track tends to close” is probably the most appropriate.
At the end of 2017, we surveyed nearly 20 people in the industry chain and found that the industry has just shaken off its doubts about the smart speaker market. At that time, optimistic voices believed that the domestic smart speaker market will reach 5 million units in 2018.
After all, there were only 1.5 million units in this market in 2017, and the sales volume in the first 10 months was only 100,000 units.
The reason for the hurricane is that the smart speaker combined with the industry chain information and calculated that the domestic smart speaker market shipments reached 22 million units in 2018, nearly 15 times the market size of last year, far exceeding industry expectations.
However, this year, the industry has fallen into the dilemma of “holding hands to see tears, but choking with words”. On the one hand, the market size is growing rapidly, but on the other hand, major players are losing money or not making money, other players are marginalized, and the profit model is still unclear. .
Looking back on this year, the attitudes of Internet giants behind the siege of the smart speaker market are also quietly changing, and some players have already left.
Around the battle of giants, the leading companies in all aspects of the entire industry chain are gradually forming, and the C-end track is gradually closing under the siege and interception of giants.
Behind the decisive battle of the 22 million market, the battle situation changes
In 2018, there are mainly four players in the main battlefield of smart speakers, namely Alibaba, Xiaomi, Baidu and Jingdong (Linglong Technology). After some competition, they all handed in their transcripts.
Smart things combined with information from all parties in the industry chain such as brands, solution providers, manufacturers, and chip vendors. Driven by Internet giants, the domestic smart speaker market has grown rapidly this year, with shipments reaching 22 million units, which is about 22 million units compared to last year. 15 times growth, accounting for about 1/3 of the global smart speaker market. You Renjie, deputy general manager of MediaTek and general manager of the smart device business group, predicted in the middle of the year that the global smart speaker market will be at least 60 million units this year.
With the continuous low-price promotion throughout the year, the shipment of Ali smart speakers reached 10 million units this year; Xiaomi smart speakers won about 6 million units of shipments due to the cost-effective promotion of festival promotions; In half a year, it focused on the layout of mini smart speakers and increased subsidies. This year, it also won a market of about 2 million units; although the bumpy Jingdong Dingdong speaker was ill-fated, its shipments also reached nearly 2 million; in addition, other players also contributed about 2 million of shipments.
The competition of the four major players ran throughout 2018. However, while competing for market share, the attitudes and strategies of each company towards smart speakers are also quietly changing, which directly affects the future of the smart speaker battle.
Xiaomi starts from cost-effectiveness and changes to subsidies
The secret rivalry between Ali and Xiaomi is a major highlight in the first half of this year. With the intensified competition and low-price promotions becoming the norm, Xiaomi’s attitude towards smart speakers has changed from “attack” to “defense”.
On Double Eleven last year, Ali achieved sales of 1 million units under strong subsidies, but it also resulted in insufficient production capacity for a long time. With the promotion of Ali Tmall Elf X1 to 99 yuan, the original price of 499 yuan has been restored, and it is out of stock. The Xiaomi AI speaker priced at 299 yuan has become popular with the “Dongfeng” and cost-effective.
At the end of March 2018, an internal Xiaomi employee revealed to Zhixi that the sales of Xiaomi AI speakers had exceeded 1 million units.
Then, at the Xiaomi mobile phone conference at the end of March, Lei Jun released the Xiaoai speaker mini in the form of “one more thing”, priced at 169 yuan. This is also the first time Lei Jun has endorsed his own smart speakers, which to a certain extent represents his recognition of smart speakers.
Lei Jun’s first platform for his own smart speaker
We also learned that Rebs immediately signed an order for 1 million units of Xiaoai speaker mini, and the two producers, East Asia and Jiahe Smart, were responsible for production.
Subsequently, at the Mi Fan Festival from April 3rd to 10th, Xiaomi also launched a promotional price of 99 yuan, which was vigorously promoted in Xiaomi Mall. Zhishi found that as of 21:00 on April 3, the number of online reservations for the Xiaoai speaker mini reached 1.06 million, which can be said to have reversed the Ali army.
However, as Ali, Baidu, and JD.com have launched mini smart speakers, the price has been cut to 69 yuan. In the second half of the year, Ali will normalize promotions. The daily price of its flagship mini speakers this year is 89 yuan, and the same is true for Baidu’s flagship Xiaodu speakers.
Under the strong promotion of Ali and Baidu, Xiaomi Xiaoai speaker mini is already at a disadvantage in price. In addition, Xiaomi does not have an advantage in AI technology and interactive experience. Xiaomi, which has lost its cost-effectiveness, should follow up subsidies or stick to it. The bottom line without losing money? Apparently Xiaomi chose the latter.
In this case, Xiaomi’s attitude towards smart speakers is also “defensive”. A senior product person in charge said, “Xiaomi and Alibaba and Baidu have different ideas of making smart speakers. The premise of Xiaomi making products is to make a profit or not lose money, while Internet giants directly spend money to grab the market, when smart speakers become a subsidy. When it comes to the market, Xiaomi may not follow up.”
However, the story of IoT told by Rebs is still on the rise. As a potential home entrance, smart speakers are something that Xiaomi has to continue to do.
Zhishi learned that Xiaomi will also launch a smart speaker with a screen in early 2019. It’s just that Xiaomi’s attitude towards smart speakers is likely to change to a defensive state.
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