Trends in Asia-Pacific and China: AI, Smartphones and Smart Speakers
Published : Tuesday, 24 April, 2018According to a recent consumer market study, Xiaomi, Apple and Google smart speakers sell like crazy in the Asian-Pacific region, while smartphone demand is steady.
GfK Asia revealed that smartphone demand shows no signs of slowing down in China and the region, while smart speakers are the latest rage. Sales figures reveal 27 million smart speakers being sold in November in China last year, while 35 million were sold in December.
Voice-activated smart speakers in China are powered by VAs (virtual assistants). Two major competitors in this market are Alibaba’s Tmall Genie X1 and the Xiaomi Mi AI, but GfK revealed that there are 21 manufacturers with 34 products in China. Other global products are the Google Home, the Apple HomePod and the Amazon Echo.
Gerard Tan from analytics firm GfK Asia explains that these trends do happen if new products are released in Asia and the consumers are sold on potential benefits.
Smart speakers are used mainly for checking the weather, hands-free music selection and setting kitchen timers, but they can also be used to control and connect to other devices, including anything from lights and fridges to TVs and air conditioning.
Tan added that a smart speaker is essentially an AI device and that many brands want to connect everything in a perfect combo package. He also predicts that interconnecting smart home devices will become typical for Asian consumers in 2018 / 2019, because there is a desire for technology in the Asian-Pacific region, and people are willing to spend more on it. AI excites people, and Asia will drive AI pricing down, putting the continent in the top position as far as the interconnected home is concerned.
One of the biggest consumer electronics trade shows in the world, the IFA 2018 exhibition in Berlin, expects to see many more traditional quality loudspeakers launching that can also perform as smart speakers.
There is, however, another product that people in the region can’t do without – smartphones. Tan notes that sales of smartphones in Asia-Pacific simply are not slowing down. Although China is the leader of the pack, every country in Asia-Pacific boasted increased smartphones sales last year.
GfK’s research also showed that 71% of shoppers in the area used smartphones to make purchases last year, while 76% did so in Indonesia and 90% in China. In Europe, the figure was less than 50%.