About Futuresource Consulting

Futuresource Consulting, the specialist research and consulting company, is delighted to be the official knowledge partner for CEATEC. The company can trace its roots back to the 1980s and provides market insights into consumer electronics, digital imaging, entertainment media, broadcast, optical manufacturing, storage media, professional IT and education technology.
With more than 70 full-time employees providing in-depth analysis and forecasts across consumer and professional electronics categories, Futuresource is able to advise on market, competitive and technological developments, providing clients with access to the information that helps produce the best possible results.


Adoption of Voice Assistants Continues Grow and Expand

The recent uptake and demand for devices featuring voice assistants has continued to surge, according to findings from Futuresource Consulting’s new Voice Assistants in Home Electronics market report. Futuresource’s latest findings for home CE with voice assistants ‘built in’ showed 119 million devices were shipped worldwide in 2018.

Longer term, there is a slightly mixed picture. “Particularly strong adoption in multimedia and entertainment is expected to continue, although there is a slight delay in some categories,” commented Simon Bryant, Research Director at Futuresource Consulting. “This is due to longer product development times and on-going consideration for the best type of voice assistant implementation from a technology perspective, and as most companies continue to work to identify their best strategy around voice platforms.”

Part of the reason for the slower adoption of voice assistants in some additional product categories is the lack of progress in being able to support more than one voice assistant in a single device. “Whilst the market leaders are growing their ecosystems and recruiting partners, there has yet to be any meaningful crossover; all arrangements and partnerships have been exclusive,” says Bryant. “Some OEMs are doing what they can to support multiple platforms on separate devices and in separate regions, but the inability to offer consumers choice is holding back more mainstream adoption and broader take-up in new sectors.”

Given this anticipated extension for wider deployment in some device categories, Futuresource forecasts that Home CE with voice assistants ‘built in’ shipments to reach 504 million, accounting for a 43% CAGR growth between 2018 and 2022.

Market Evolves from Early Adopter to Early Follower

Smart speakers continue to see strong demand as the market moves closer towards mainstream. Smart speaker shipments reached 53 million at the end of 2018.

The primary voice platforms continue to focus on their own devices and expanding their capabilities, bringing out new variants to tailor them to appeal to more use cases throughout the home.

“It remains a foot-race to establish a lead in a market that has moved from early adopter to early follower in the past 12 months, driving companies to work hard to establish as broad a footprint as possible,” says Bryant. Greater language capabilities are resulting in expansion to new territories for the leading brands from the US and China, and more entrants and new form factors such as smart displays are seeing smart speakers push into additional markets. More localised deployments (with potential to expand) are coming from service providers in Korea and Europe. The additional integration of voice assistants into additional devices and services is illustrated by the commercial release of additional smart devices, such as smart home and media and entertainment throughout 2018, as OEMs test the waters and the appeal of voice.