Battle of the tech giants over the Christmas period – who is best?

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Amazon and Google have quickly become the two largest channels in the discussion of online retail, but which one will have the most sales over Christmas?

The two ecommerce giants operate very differently. To start, Amazon does not use external forces to rank their products while Google leverages signals from websites, social indicators, and other search related elements to produce your search results.

Although Google became a household name years ago as the world-leading internet search provider, Amazon has quickly established itself as the go-to Marketplace for shoppers, specifically in North America.

User intent also varies across both platforms. Some experts believe the shopper’s purchase intent is much higher on Amazon vs. Google, meaning users who turn to Amazon first are likely to make quicker and more frequent purchases.

Let’s take a look at last years Christmas sales for both Amazon and Google, using the Smart Speaker example. In 2018 Strategy Analytics reported that in the fourth quarter of 2018, shipments of AI-imbued speakers grew 95 percent from 22.6 million units in Q3 to 38.5 million units — more than the entire 2017 total. It brought the year-end tally to 86.2 million units.

Amazon and Google were clear and away the winners, predictably. Amazon experienced 91 percent quarter-over-quarter rise in Echo device shipments, whilst Google saw a 123 percent uptick in Google Home shipments over the same period. Specifically, Amazon shipped 13.7 million smart speakers (up from 7.2 million in Q3 2018) for a 35.5 percent share of the market (from 31.8 percent the quarter prior), while Google shipped 11.5 million units (up from 5.2 million) for a 30 percent share (from 22.8 percent).

As for Apple, it achieved 1.6 million HomePod shipments in Q4 2018. That’s a 45 percent quarter-over-quarter climb from 1.1 million shipments in Q3, but it wasn’t enough to stave off a slight decline in market share to 4.1 percent.


Above: Smart speaker shipments in Q4 2018, as estimated by Strategy Analytics.

Not to be outdone, Alibaba, Baidu, and Xiaomi all took over 1 percent of the global smart speaker market. Alibaba got 30 percent more shipments (2.8 million) in q4 2018 compared with 2017, giving it a 7.3 percent share of the market, while Baidu and Xiaomi shipped 2.2 million (from 1.9 million in Q3 2018) and 1.8 million (also from 1.9 million) units, respectively.

Strategy Analytics estimated that about 60 million households worldwide now own at least one smart speaker, and that smart displays like the Echo Show and Google Home Hub made up more than 10 percent of total shipment demand in Q4 2018.

Nevertheless, when considering which tech giant to buy from this Christmas – remember that using Google Shopping drives sales to the independent retailers website, whereas using Amazon loses the authenticity and your loyalty to the brand as a customer. Make an informed choice this Christmas!

Emily is a Google Shopping Specialist with a keen interest in marketing trends and creating fresh, interesting content.

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