Video: Will Apple’s HomePod make it in a crowded smart speaker market?
Apple shipped around 600,000 HomePod speakers in the first quarter of 2018, according to a new estimate of the smart-speaker market by Strategy Analytics.
Apple, a latecomer to the field, is now the fourth-largest vendor by shipments, behind Amazon, Google and Alibaba.
Despite quickly rising to fourth spot, Apple is still a long way behind Amazon and Google, which together account for 70 percent of the smart-speaker market.
Leader Amazon doubled year-on-year shipments to four million smart speakers and took a 43.6 percent share of the 9.2 million units shipped this quarter by all vendors, according to Strategy Analytics.
Google, in second place but with year-over-year growth of a whopping 709 percent, shipped 2.4 million, accounting for a 26.5 percent share. Apple’s 600,000 units represent six percent.
Alibaba and Xiaomi sold 700,000 and 200,000, respectively, while a collection of unnamed vendors shipped 1.3 amounting to 13.9 percent of units. Notably, this group’s shipments grew 806 percent and, with Apple, is helping dilute Amazon’s and Google’s dominance.
The research company notes that the combined Amazon and Google share of smart-speaker shipments has fallen from 82 percent last quarter and 94 percent a year ago.
Apple launched HomePod sales in February, so its figure only covers two months. However, the device reportedly isn’t the hit Apple hoped for. Apple Store workers recently told Bloomberg that HomePod inventory is piling up.
Slice Intelligence reported at the time that Apple at launch sold nine times as many units than the Sonos One, 11 times more than the Google Home Max, but 19 percent below Amazon Echo Show’s launch weekend.
Despite an initial pre-order driven burst, HomePod sales have quickly slowed, according to Slice’s data, which indicates the HomePod accounted for just 0.4 percent of all sales. Amazon’s $49 Echo Dot has a 43 percent share.
While rivals have multiple speakers at different price points Apple only has one at a hefty $349.
Added to this, it’s only available in the US, UK, and Australia, and the speaker launched without multi-room support, which Apple plans to enable later this year via a software update.
But Apple may need to do much more work on Siri before the HomePod can come close to speakers powered by Alexa and Google Assistant.
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