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Media Post reports that a new forecast from Canalys suggests that 38 million smart speakers are expected to be shipped in the US this year, and that 56 million are expected to be shipped globally. “Amazon and Google are expected to remain the leaders with their Echo and Home devices, but will feel some heat from new entrants to the market,” the story says.

Canalys research analyst Lucio Chen tells Media Post that “smart speakers in 2018 will move beyond hardware, with strategic attempts to monetize the growing installed base in the US and beyond. The possibilities to do this are endless, be it discreet advertising, content subscription bundles, premium services or enterprise solutions. The technology is still in transition, and increased investments from multiple players of the ecosystem will fuel growth.”

At the same time, Media Post has another story about different research saying that “consumers who shop for groceries online are more likely to use or plan to purchase a voice-controlled smart speaker, such as Amazon Echo or Google Home … More than half (56%) of online shoppers say they either currently use a voice-controlled smart speaker or plan to purchase one within the next six months.”

The story says that “online grocery shoppers are defined as those who say they have main or joint responsibility for the household food shopping and have purchased a grocery product online in the past six months, according to the study by Global Web Index.”
KC's View:
I’ve been evangelizing for smart speaker systems ever since we got our first Echo, and lately I’ve found them to be even more impressive when linked up to our Sonos speakers. I’m always amazed when I talk to retailers who don’t own one … I can understand if they don’t want to order product from Amazon using an Echo, but at the very least they ought to be using this technology to play around and see what is possible. They also need to understand what they are competing with, lest they be operating with a significant disadvantage.