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China to lead the world on smart assistant adoption – Canalys

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Canalys is forecasting China to be the biggest adopter of smart assistants by 2023, with an install base of 5.8 billion.

Though the US will claim to be the leader today, over the course of the next four years, Canalys forecasts a boom in China. The team suggests 5.8 billion devices will be installed across the country, twice as many as the total in the US.

“The growing Chinese middle class is relentlessly pursuing a higher standard of living, and smart appliances will play a major part in their vision of the ideal home,” said Canalys Research Analyst Cynthia Chen.

“Appliance makers Haier, TCL and Hisense are changing their strategies to capture the trend early. Even the retailer Suning and smartphone vendor Xiaomi are aiming to disrupt the market.”

This is perhaps where the consumer IOT and smart assistant segments will receive the greatest drive for momentum; adoption from traditional consumer electronics and appliance manufacturers. Companies like Google and Amazon can push new technologies to a degree, but consumer trust will be earned when traditional and credible brands in the consumer product space start integrating ‘intelligence’.

The idea of a smart assistant has almost been normalised, though usage is still incredibly limited. As consumers, we have not given up on the touch user interface, though as more assistants appear on air conditioning units, door locks and refrigerators, the more normalised the idea will become. And it seems the Chinese will be high up on the adoption list.

Canalys estimate each Chinese household will own an average of seven smart assistant-compatible home devices by 2023, with the large appliance category proving to be the biggest contributor to growth. However, smart phones will of course be the main device category for smart assistants in 2023.

“Chinese smartphone vendors, such as Huawei, Oppo and Vivo, are shifting their strategies to create IoT ecosystems with smart assistants, especially targeting homes with smart speakers and smart assistant-compatible devices,” said Canalys Senior Analyst Jason Low. “Having such devices work together seamlessly, especially across brands and platforms, to create new intuitive use-cases remains an industry-wide challenge for vendors around the world.”

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