Smart speakers witness spike in demand in India’s semi-urban areas

  • In 2018, there is a record of over 7.5 lakh smart speakers shipped to India and the ratio is increasing
  • In semi-urban areas around 50 percent of people purchased this device in 2020 as they wanted to control their smart home appliances
  • The reach of fast internet will increase the demand for smart speakers even in rural areas in the coming five years

Gone are the days when smart speakers had its user base only for the affluent sections in India, but now for the past two years, the devices have targeted the semi-middle class in non-metro cities too. According to analysts, the popularity of these devices was considered to be luxurious, but due to the massive price reduction, it has attracted all sections, including the people in semi-urban areas. It is now one of the most imperative Internet of Things (IoT)-enabled devices used in various households equipped with smart electronic appliances. 

Technology has been upgraded in such a massive way that speakers with smart technology like voice assistants are used in controlling gadgets and lights and also help users play music of choice and check the temperature. Last month in a survey, Amazon India has explained how the sales of smart speakers have augmented in semi-urban areas and how it will gain popularity in the rural areas in the coming few years. 

In this light, Parv Sharma, research analyst, Counterpoint Research, told The Electronics, “Prices have fallen down sharply in this segment in India, which is helping middle-class sections to grab the device. Before 2018, the prices were more than Rs 20,000, but now, it is also available under Rs 3,000. It is Google that has brought a revolution in the price. The other reason for its growth is the cheap internet tariffs. The reach of fast internet in rural areas will ultimately increase the demand for these products. In India, Alexa and Google will dominate the segment, whereas Apple cannot beat competition unless it reduces the price.”

Google in 2019 stated that Hindi was the second most common language for its Google Assistant globally, behind English. It’s no exaggeration to say that in India voice is booming. Forty percent of adults use voice search at least once a day in India, added Sharma. In 2018, there were over 7.5 lakh smart speakers shipped to India and the ratio is increasing. Voice assistants have now reached a user base of  200 million in India on their Jio devices that are backed by Google voice assistants.

As per Amazon India and Karvy Insights survey the unleash of the Hindi language in Alexa played the most pivotal role in the growth of this device in various regions of the country. Forty-three percent of users in non-metro cities gave commands in Hindi languages. People from various cities such as Lucknow, Kanpur, Patna, Jaipur, Ahmedabad, Hyderabad, Vijaywada, and Vishakapatnam uses smart speakers on a daily basis for near about two and a half hours on average.

A smart speaker user Dibyalok Chakraborty said, “I have five smart speakers at home that starts from Rs 2000 and ends at Rs 25,000. Google Home is the better one because it understands Indian accents and Hindi far better than Alexa. The latter is mostly familiar with the American accent. Although the price of the Apple HomePod is higher it does not work better than the rest of the two. Alexa helps me exceptionally well to operate my smart appliances at homes such as TV, washing machine, and door lock.”

In semi-urban areas around 50 percent of people purchased this device as they wanted to control their smart home appliances. 47 percent of these people realized that voice assistants helped them perk-up pronunciation and language skills of their kids, and also helping them learn in a better way, added Amazon India survey, which is justified by Counterpoint Research. 

According to a report of IANS, between January to September 2020, Amazon Echo smart speakers had a cumulative market share of 75.9 percent, Xiaomi with a 7.1 percent share, and Google managed to get hold of a 1.2 percent share. Smart speakers with displays grabbed 87 percent growth in Q3 2020. The end of 2021 would witness a record of shipments of smart speakers of more than 7.5 lakh units.

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