About 39 million people in the US own smart speakers, breaking down roughly to one smart speaker for every six people, per industry data. The popularity of these speakers has exploded recently, increasing by 128% since January 2017, states a report from NPR and Edison Research.
With revenue soaring 138% in 2017, Netflix passed Tinder as the top-earning non-game mobile app, according to SensorTower. Also notable in SensorTower's year-end report was a big gain for Tencent Video, which jumped from ninth in 2016 to fifth last year.
Apple's iPhones have lost a little ground in market share in Japan and the US but have more than made up those numbers in China. Driven by the new X and 8 models, iPhone market share in China climbed to 24.3% in November from 19.7% a year before, according to Kantar Worldpanel ComTech.
Many new devices enabled for Amazon's digital assistant, Alexa, were unveiled at CES 2018, including Abode's combined security camera and smart hub, iota, and Sony's A8F and X900F television lineups. Alexa-enabled devices were presented by several major companies, such as Whirlpool, TiVo, Toshiba and Qualcomm.
"Player Unknown's Battlegrounds" has maintained its popularity heading into 2018, reporting 3 million users on Xbox One and averaging 3 million to 3.1 million concurrent players on Steam. While the game remains more popular on PC, console use is expected to grow, especially if a PlayStation 4 version is released.
Tax cuts have led to an increase of about 5.5% in holiday spending in the US, per the National Retail Federation. NRF Chief Economist Jack Kleinhenz said that the tax bill drove optimism about the economy, increasing consumers' willingness to spend, saying, "When [the tax bill] got passed and companies started to announce bonuses and wage increases, the consumer felt very much more at ease going into the holiday season and spending."
The advent of artificial intelligence is spurring new investor interest in chip companies. Last year venture capitalists channeled more than $1.5 billion to chip startups, almost double the sector's funding two years before.
Sixteen percent of US homes now have a Google or Amazon smart speaker, with half of their owners saying they use the devices more now than they did when they first purchased them. That's according to a report by NPR and Edison Research that noted total market penetration more than doubled in a year.
The US Supreme Court will be taking up the issue of whether online businesses like Amazon and Wayfair should be required to collect sales taxes on online transactions. The justices will reconsider a 1992 decision in which sellers were required to charge sales tax only if they had some kind of physical presence in the state involved, such as an office or a warehouse.