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China will ship more smart speakers in 2020 despite coronavirus disruption

China will ship more smart speakers in 2020 despite coronavirus disruption
Baidu’s smart speaker shipment grew 278.5% in 2019, according to IDC. (Picture: Baidu)

Smart speaker shipments in China are projected to grow 9.8% in 2020, according to a new report by IDC. The estimated growth comes despite a sharp drop in shipments in the first quarter because of the coronavirus pandemic that upended supply chains and lowered consumer demand.

China saw “explosive growth” of 110% in smart speaker shipments last year, according to IDC. The top brands remain Chinese tech giants Alibaba, Baidu and Xiaomi, which make up more than 90% of China’s smart speaker market.

(Abacus is a unit of the South China Morning Post, which is owned by Alibaba.)

While the pandemic pushed down sales at offline retail stores, there could be a new opportunity for smart speaker makers on the horizon. With more people staying home, IDC says companies are motivated to enrich their content, explore more use cases and move a bigger part of their sales online.

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