The $349 HomePod smart speaker Apple released earlier this year hasn’t yet won more than 6 percent market share, thanks in part to a late release into a category dominated by heavy-hitting rival speakers from the likes of Amazon and Google.
Indeed, according to research from Strategy Analytics, Apple’s is only the fourth most popular smart speaker at the moment. Strategy Analytics’ numbers put the HomePod behind, no surprise, the much more established Amazon Echo, Google Home and even Alibaba’s Tmall Genie.
The new report shows Apple having shipped 700,000 HomePods in the second quarter, putting its market share at around 6 percent. When you couple that with Strategy Analytics’ estimate that Apple shipped 600,000 HomePods in the first quarter, you get a rough figure of 1.3 million units Apple has moved since it first made HomePods available to order in the U.S., Australia and U.K. towards the beginning of the year.
That figure is a lot lower than a recent estimate from Consumer Intelligence Research Partners that Apple has sold 3 million HomePods to date in the U.S. alone. One thing neither estimate really disputes, though, is the fact that Apple certainly has a lot of ground to make up — but there may be an opening.
Based on the Strategy Analytics numbers, Amazon leads with a 41 percent smart speaker market share as recently as the second quarter. Google is close behind, with a nearly 30 percent share of the market.
According to Strategy Analytics director David Watkins, though, Amazon’s and Google’s commanding hold on the market may be loosening, slightly. “Amazon and Google accounted for a 69 percent share of global smart speaker shipments in Q2 2018 down from over 90 percent in Q2 2017. The drop is not only a reflection of growing competition in the smart speaker market but also Amazon and Google’s inability to break into the fast growing Chinese market that is dominated by local powerhouse brands such as Alibaba, JD.com and Baidu.”
It’s not precisely clear how many HomePods Apple has actually sold, given that the company bundles sales of the speakers into its “Other Products” category when it makes earnings announcements. Apple reported $3.74 billion in revenue for that category during its most recent quarter, up almost 40 percent from the year-ago quarter. But it doesn’t tell us really anything about HomePods. Also worth pointing out: Strategy Analytics’ numbers refer to shipments, which aren’t sales.
Apple in June added three new countries to the markets where HomePods are available, with the inclusion of Canada, France and Germany. We’ll have to wait and see where Apple adds next.
On the bright side, perhaps the rumors are true and Apple is already thinking about a lower-priced HomePod to help it make up some ground.