Amazon Continues to Dominate U.S. Smart Speaker Market

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Apr 12, 2001
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Amazon's Echo speakers continue to be the most popular smart speakers in the United States, and will remain in the dominant spot through at least 2021, according to new smart speaker user estimates shared today by eMarketer (via TechCrunch).

An estimated 69.7 percent of U.S. smart speaker users will use an Amazon Echo product in 2020, a number that's down slightly from the estimated 72.9 percent of smart speaker owners who used an Echo in 2019. In 2021, Amazon is estimated to see another small drop in usage, with eMarketer suggesting 68.2 percent of smart speaker owners will use an Echo.

Note: eMarketer says the percentages total over 100 percent because some smart speaker owners have more than one brand.​

Google is expected to make some headway against Amazon, but eMarketer does not believe that the "Other" category, which includes Apple's HomePod, the Sonos One, and other smart speakers, will gain significant ground over the next two years.

An estimated 31.7 percent of smart speaker owners will use a Google device in 2020, while 18.4 percent will use speakers in the Other category. In 2021, that number is expected to grow to 32 percent for Google and 18.8 percent for the Other category.
Since Amazon first introduced the Echo, it has built a convincing lead in the U.S. and continues to beat back challenges from top competitors," said Victoria Petrock, a principal analyst at eMarketer. "We had previously expected Google and Apple to make more inroads in this market, but Amazon has remained aggressive. By offering affordable devices and building out the number of Alexa skills, the company has maintained Echo's appeal," she added.
eMarketer expects the number of U.S. smart speaker owners to grow over the next several years, but ownership numbers will rise slowly. 28.9 percent of internet users also have a smart speaker, a number that will grow to 30.5 percent next year.

Though Apple's HomePod recently turned two, Apple has had some difficulty securing a foothold in the smart speaker market. Apple's HomePod was priced at $349 when it launched in February 2018, but Apple dropped the price to $299 in April 2019. Even at $299, the HomePod is significantly more expensive than Amazon's Echo lineup, which includes smart speakers at multiple price points. Amazon's lowest priced device, the Echo Dot, sells for $30 and sometimes dips even lower.


Apple was hoping that the superior sound of the HomePod would draw customers to pay extra for sound quality, but the more affordable prices of the Amazon Echo and Google Home have been more appealing to most consumers. Amazon doesn't have quite the same advantage in non-U.S. markets because it supports fewer non-English languages than other speakers like the Google Home, so that is an area where Apple could make inroads into the smart speaker market.

HomePod rollout has been slow, though, with the device limited to the United States, United Kingdom, Australia, Canada, France, Germany, Spain, Mexico, China, Hong Kong, Japan, and Taiwan

Apple is rumored to be working on a new, more affordable version of the HomePod with reduced tweeters, which could be released at some point in 2020. A lower price point will help the HomePod better compete with the Amazon Echo and the Google Home, but it will likely be difficult for Apple to catch up given the lead Amazon and Google have in the smart speaker market.

Article Link: Amazon Continues to Dominate U.S. Smart Speaker Market
 
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G5isAlive

macrumors 6502a
Aug 28, 2003
831
1,101
If Apple ready decides this is a market they want, I would not rule them out quite yet. The question is, how important is it to Apple? Speakers, probably not. Siri interface? Probably yes.
 

levitynyc

macrumors 65816
Aug 19, 2006
1,098
3,231
As they should.

Not even factoring in special priced deals, Amazon offers:

Decent speakers for $79, good speakers for $119, and excellent speakers for $199. Even the latest Echo Dot has halfway decent sound for $29.

Apple completely priced themselves out of the market with the $349 price tag.
 

locovaca

macrumors regular
May 14, 2002
196
143
Iowa
And for those of us who don’t want Smart Speakers Sonos has that end of the market covered too with their One SLs that are almost half the cost, nearly all of the sound quality, and all of the Airplay2 integration.
 

cardfan

macrumors 68020
Mar 23, 2012
2,327
3,089
Think Apple has to get beyond a smart speaker simply being an Apple Music player. They’re a lot more behind than simply having a cheaper HomePod.

Once upon a time I thought they might expand to provide an audio solution for Apple TV. But kinda lost hope there as Apple TV gets more irrelevant to the masses.
 
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Dave-Z

macrumors 6502a
Jun 26, 2012
757
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Apple was hoping that the superior sound of the HomePod would draw customers to pay extra for sound quality
I'm just guessing, but people who really care about audio quality will buy proper sound systems. For everyone else, they're fine with just having any speaker that makes noise (be it podcasts, music, etc.). So Apple's real target is prosumer. Add in the lack-luster Siri and the HomePod isn't much of a product.

Like others in this thread have said, you can get a Google or Amazon product that's easily "good enough" for most people for a significant fraction of the HomePod price.
 

TravelsInBlue

macrumors newbie
Feb 7, 2020
9
54
My Echo Show has great sound quality and integrates much better with all of my third party devices around the house. The Hue functionality is solid, Spotify works great and I can even check security camera feeds fairly easily.

For twice the price, HomePod only sounds marginally better, and lacks in every other area. It’s too much of a niche product.
 

fmcshan

macrumors regular
Apr 8, 2019
220
743
New Hampshire
I’m hoping Apple releases a lower priced HomePod at some point this year. The current HomePod has incredible sound quality but its price point makes it a tough sell when compared to cheaper options from Amazon and Google.
 
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vertical smile

macrumors 601
Sep 23, 2014
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A lower price point will help the HomePod better compete with the Amazon Echo and the Google Home, but it will likely be difficult for Apple to catch up given the lead Amazon and Google have in the smart speaker market.
I understand that from a business/investor POV that market share might be important, but from a consumer POV, I think that in the past when compared to the competition, Apple made much better products, HW, SW, services, etc. when they were hardly a blip on the marketshare radar than when they became a major player.

I personally don't care about the HomePods marketshare, but it seems like it is lacking some features and is falling behind when compared to the competition.
 
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ipponrg

macrumors 68000
Oct 15, 2008
1,809
1,386
Apple's HomePod is a good example of confused identity.

Some said it's a speaker first, but you can't connect to it via Bluetooth nor with an aux. You also can't tweak the EQ settings, and you have to trust Apple's tunings. Certain "audiophiles" said this is the best sounding speaker ever for its price range, but it seems they also thought BOSE sounded great too.

Then others have said it's a smart speaker with privacy focus, then Apple got caught with contractors listening to recordings.

I still feel that if Apple prices this much lower AND removes Siri AND is less dependent on the Apple ecosystem, people like me would buy it. If not, then it will continue to be what it is today.
 

JRobinsonJr

macrumors 6502a
Aug 20, 2015
640
1,126
Arlington, Texas
69.7% of the U.S. market, eh? Any guess as to how many of those are the cheapest Dots you can buy? 90%?
No offense intended, but... so what? People buy products for testing or to fill a perceived need. If the $30 Echo Dot fills that need, then it’s the right product at the right price. Apples issue is (IMHO) that they always want to be only top-of-the-line, and that is fine as long as that matches what a majority of consumers are looking for. Unfortunately for Apple, they didn’t understand the market. Consumers weren’t looking for amazong speakers to play music. They were - and still are - looking for ”good enough” speakers that will fill a lot of other roles. Again, for $30 I can fill that need.
 

Romeo_Nightfall

macrumors 6502a
Aug 8, 2018
571
629
Vienna
The HomePod is a nice product, not available in AUSTRIA. I would eat that 330 euro price tag, IF it has aux and bluetooth. Both would have been easy to add but Apple decided on their old school eco system binding strategy. Epic fail. I found no way to connect it to my tv , Mac would work maybe but no remote for loudness.
i mean this is really insane and no battery neither.