Spoken Word Market Size

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Global Market Size of Audio Books/Voice Narration

The global audiobook market is $3.5 million and the total global voice over narration market is $4.4 billion. Of that $4.4 billion, 3.6% belongs to audiobook narration on a global level. The voice narration segment in the United States is worth $800 million, with 13% belonging to audiobook narration. My methodology and a'deep dive of my findings is below.

Methodology and calculations

Fortunately, there were pre-compiled reports for 2017 on both audiobooks and voice over narration. The global numbers were given for these markets, but for the audiobook voice over segment, the Voices.com report excludes the United States from its global findings. As such, it was not possible to identify the true global audiobook narration market size. However, we can determine what the global market size is without the United States:

Total Global voice over market size: $4,400,000,000
Global voice over market excluding the U.S.: $3,600,000,000
Global audiobook narration market share excluding the U.S.: 3.6%
Global audiobook narration market size excluding the U.S.: $129,600,000 ($3,600,000,000 x 0.036)

The U.S. market share of the voice over market can also be calculated at 18% ($800,000,000 / $4,400,000,000).

We can also pinpoint the U.S. audiobook narration market size because the Voices.com report gives us both the market size and the audiobook narration market share for the United States:

U.S. voice over market size: $800,000,000
U.S. audiobook narration market share: 13%
U.S. audiobook narration market size: $104,000,000 ($800,000,000 x 0.13)

The global audiobook market size was precompiled by Good E-Reader at $3.5 billion and the U.S. market size was also given at $1.8 billion. This means that the United States has a 51% market share of the global audiobook market ($1,800,000,000 / $3,500,000,000).


According to the above reports and calculations, the following can be assumed:

1. The global market size for audiobooks is $3.5 billion.

2. The U.S. holds 51% of the market for audiobooks, which is worth $1.8 billion.

3. The global market size for voice over narration is $4.4 billion.

4. The U.S. holds 18% of the market for voice over narration, which is worth $800,000,000.

5. The global audiobook narration size excluding the United States is $129,600,000, which represents 3.6% of the global voice over market (excluding the U.S.).

6. The U.S. audiobook narration size is $104,000,000, which represents 13% of the total U.S. voice over market.


With the United States' audiobook market representing 51% of the global market, it appears that the United States is the region in which to develop and sell audiobooks. In fact, according to the Audio Publishers Association, 50,937 new audiobook titles were published in 2016, which represents a 43.1% growth over 2015. The market size of audiobook narration in the United States reflects the popularity of audiobooks in America, as its market size of $104,000,000 is just $26,000 less than the global audiobook narration size of $129,600,000.

The average growth rate of the audiobooks market in the United States is 31%, making it the "fastest-growing format in the book business today." Much of this growth is due to the convenience of "on-the-go listening, allowing consumers to listen to their favorite books in the car, on the commute to work, or while on a run." However, 28% of U.S. audiobook consumers also say they listen to audiobooks via their desktop or laptop, "suggesting that there is also a big demand for audiobooks in the home."

The ability to check out audiobooks from American libraries also appears to be fueling growth. In 2016, more than 55 million audiobooks "were borrowed from libraries and schools in the United States." Along with that, 57% of audiobook consumers say they consult their library for new audiobook titles before deciding to purchase one. When consumers do purchase an audiobook, 82.4% are purchased as digital downloads and 29% of those downloads are on smartphones.


Audiobook narration represents only a small fraction of the overall voice over market, at 3.6%, but in the United States, audiobook narration represents a larger percentage of the U.S. voice over market at 13%. In addition, the audiobook market size is $3.5 billion globally and the United States represents 51% of that market, with a size of $1.8 billion.
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Global Market Size of Voice Enabled Speakers

The voice enabled speaker global market size is approximately $1.7 billion, up from $1.3 billion in 2017 and $991.4 million in 2016.

Methodology and Calculations

The only global report on voice enabled speakers that is not behind a paywall is from Arizton Advisory & Intelligence 2016 market research study, which is supported by the Research & Markets report. However, using that number and the projected growth rates, we can determine the market size for 2017 and 2018. The Arizton report puts the 2016 global market size for voice enabled speakers at $991.4 million In addition, that same report, in addition to one from Research & Markets, says the market will grow at a CAGR of 30% through 2022, when the global market size will cross $4 billion. Therefore, we can calculate each year's market size through 2022 by using the following calculations.

2016: $991,400,000
2017: $1,288,820,000 ($991,400,000 x 1.30)
2018: $1,675,466,000 ($1,288,820,000 x 1.30)
2019: $2,178,105,800 ($1,675,466,000 x 1.30)
2020: $2,831,537,540 ($2,178,105,800 x 1.30)
2021: $3,680,998,802 ($2,831,537,540 x 1.30)
2022: $4,785,298,443 ($3,680,998,802 x 1.30)


Using the above calculations, we can say the global market size for voice-enabled speakers in 2017 was about $1.3 billion and is expected to grow to about $1.7 billion in 2018. By 2022, the market will reach over $4.7 billion.

Amazon dominates the global market despite the fact that its product does not work in China, a major market for electronics. A Strategy Analytics report indicates that in 2017, Amazon owned 66.9% of the global voice enabled speaker market, while Google trails in a distant second place with a market share of 23.5%. In terms of dollars, this would mean that in 2018, Amazon will have a market share of $1,120,886,754 ($1,675,446,000 x 0.669) and Google's market share is worth $393,729,810 ($6,760,000,000 x 0.235).

Other companies that offer voice enabled speakers are far behind even Google, with JD.com owning just 1.6% of the market, Xiaomi with just 1.3%, and Alibaba with a mere 0.9%. It is important to note that since neither Amazon's nor Google's products work in China, and JD.com's, Xiaomi's, and Alibaba's products only work in China, the companies are not direct competitors. As such, the only true competitor for Amazon right now is Google. However, Apple released its HomePod voice enabled speaker in January 2018, and will also be a strong contender in the market. That being said, the HomePod is more than twice the cost of Amazon's products, which may impact Apple's ability to make deep inroads in market share for 2018.

Based on a report from Arizton Advisory & Intelligence, the North American market share for voice enabled speakers was 49.74% in 2017. Although the North American market is expected to lose ground to the Europe and APAC markets by 2022, for the purposes of estimation, we can assume the North American market share is approximately the same in 2018 as it was in 2017. Therefore, if the global market size is $1,675,446,000 in 2018, we can estimate the North American market size to be about $833,366,840 ($1,675,446,000 x 0.4974). Unfortunately, despite extensive searching through market reports and media mentions, I was unable to find the market share for the United States. It is assumed that the U.S. holds a larger market share than Canada, but without hard data, we are unable to provide actual statistics to support that assumption.


The global market size of voice enabled speakers is calculated to be approximately $1.7 billion in 2018 and is expected to grow to over $4.8 billion by 2022. Amazon leads the market with a 66.9% market share, while Google has captured 23.5% market share.

Did this report spark your curiosity?