Apple’s HomePod Makes Modest Gains Against Echo, Google Home [Report]

Consumer Intelligence Partners (CIRP), reported this week, using consumer survey data, that Apple’s HomePod smart speaker make market share gains against rivals Google Home and Amazon Echo.  The firm is saying that Apple’s device has 6 percent of the US smart speaker market.

According to the report, Echo has a 70 percent share compared to Google Home’s 24 percent.  Apple roughly doubled its share from 3 percent in March.  Although it’s easy to grow from a tiny base, the gains could still be meaningful.

It’s good news for Apple for several reasons:

  • HomePod is quite expensive at $349, limiting its market potential.
  • Mixed reviews (other than for sound) at launch also tempered demand.
  • Its virtual assistant capabilities are perceived to be weaker than Google’s or Amazon’s.

The data suggests, with all these real and perceived limitations, that there’s some pent-up demand for the Apple speaker. It’s even being rumored to be getting new feature updates in the fall that will reportedly make it more competitive with Google and Amazon.

While that remains to be seen, a “HomePod mini” or less expensive version would likely see increased adoption. One of the reasons these devices are penetrating the market so quickly is that entry-level buy-in is less than $50.00.

The chance of apple trying to compete at that pricing tier seems unlikely, although it could try rolling out a less expensive smart speaker.  If it wants to be serious about competing in the market, it will need to have a lower-priced model, although there aren’t any rumors to that effect at the moment.

CIRP data shows that a substantial number of users own more than one speaker, perhaps a third of buyers.  To compare, NPR survey data say that half of current owners have at least two devices.

The recent Nielsen total audience report, which focuses on media consumption across devices, asserts that 19 percent of adults currently own/use a smart speaker in their homes. That represents about 47 million device users in the US today. The report also argues, using survey findings, that there are more than 100 million current non-owners interested in buying one.

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