While the global smartphone market suffered a lot at the onset of the coronavirus pandemic, younger and less saturated markets in the tech industry have been impressively successful in maintaining their growth levels over the past couple of years.

Smart speaker sales, for example, have only recorded one quarterly year-over-year decline in market history…until the first three months of 2022. That’s right, the The first quarter of this year hasn’t been great for the Amazon-dominated sector, which, somewhat surprisingly, contracted 4.5% compared to the first quarter of 2021.

This seemingly shocking contraction is less surprising when you consider that Alibaba, Baidu and Xiaomi are three of the world’s top six sellers. These companies rely almost entirely on domestic manufacturing and sales, both of which proved problematic between January and March 2022 due to “  unprecedented resurgences of COVID-19 that interrupted the daily lives of many Chinese people  ”.

The double-digit declines of all three have greatly contributed to Apple’s rise to the sellers’ podium, even though Amazon and Google still look untouchable in their respective gold and silver medal positions. Naturally, it would be grossly unfair to attribute the rise of the HomePod mini to further lockdowns in China and other market “disruptions” caused by Russia’s invasion of Ukraine, especially when one accounts for another remarkable feat achieved by the smaller Siri-powered speaker.

For the first time , Apple has the world’s only best-selling smart speaker model , beating Amazon’s fourth-generation Echo Dot and Google’s Nest Mini, both of which are significantly more affordable than the HomePod mini. A total of 4.5 million units of the HomePod mini were sold during the first quarter of 2022 , representing a 12.7% share of a total of 35.3 million units, which is a quite an incredible accomplishment for the manufacturer of a single connected speaker (after the withdrawal of the “standard” HomePod).

Amazon and Google still leading the market

With many more models under their belts, Amazon and Google hold 28.2% and 17.2% shares , respectively, after fairly modest single-digit growth numbers from the first quarter of last year.

Looking ahead, the aforementioned top three Chinese players are expected to bounce back…at the earliest by mid-2023, while the top three global vendors will have to overcome their own challenges…one way or another. Specifically, the US market is starting to show clear signs of saturation, making life very difficult for Amazon, Google and Apple, the latter also having to worry about “  the exhaustion of opportunities to sell HomePods to its customer base “. iPhone  ”.

In other words, the astonishing and somewhat unexpected success of the HomePod mini could be short-lived , with its maker’s growth likely to “slow down significantly” in 2023. It remains to be seen whether Apple will try to ride the surf. this wave of global popularity… one way or another and release a new smart speaker by then. In the meantime, Amazon and Google should focus on “selling additional devices to consumers or encouraging them to update older models” as the existing user base is unlikely to expand further.

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