HomePod Struggling to Gain Market Share Alongside Cheaper Amazon Echo and Google Home Speakers

Discussion in 'MacRumors.com News Discussion' started by MacRumors, Feb 5, 2019.

  1. MacRumors macrumors bot


    Apr 12, 2001

    Apple's expensive HomePod speaker accounted for just six percent of the U.S. smart speaker installed base through the fourth quarter of 2018, according to research firm Consumer Intelligence Research Partners.


    CIRP estimates that the U.S. installed base of smart speakers reached 66 million units last quarter, suggesting that HomePod sales in the country have totaled around 3.96 million units since the speaker became available to order in January 2018. Apple does not disclose exact HomePod sales figures.

    By comparison, the Amazon Echo and Google Home accounted for a commanding 70 percent and 24 percent of the installed base respectively as of last quarter, with both products proving to be popular holiday gifts.


    At $349, the HomePod is significantly more expensive than the Amazon Echo and Google Home. The small, entry-level Amazon Echo Dot and Google Home Mini models in particular were available for as low as $25 during the holiday season, while the HomePod is only available in one size.

    "Amazon and Google both have broad model lineups, ranging from basic to high-end, with even more variants from Amazon. Apple of course has only its premium-priced HomePod, and likely won't gain significant share until it offers an entry-level product closer to Echo Dot and Home mini," said CIRP co-founder Josh Lowitz.

    To improve sales, many resellers offered the HomePod for $249 during the holiday season. Even now, the speaker is available for $279.99 at Best Buy, a $70 discount compared to its price on Apple.com.

    In fairness, the HomePod also launched two to three years after many of its competitors, and sales remain limited to the United States, United Kingdom, Australia, Canada, France, Germany, Spain, Mexico, China, and Hong Kong. But without a steeper price cut, the speaker faces an uphill battle.

    In April 2018, well-connected analyst Ming-Chi Kuo said Apple was "mulling" a "low-cost version" of the HomePod, potentially due to shipments of the current version being "far below market expectations." A report out of China said the lower-cost HomePod could be priced between $150 and $200 in the United States.

    It's unclear if Apple would be willing to release a HomePod speaker with inferior sound quality versus the current model. Last year, a Chinese report said the lower-priced HomePod could actually be a Siri-enabled Beats speaker.

    CIRP bases its findings on its survey of 500 U.S. owners of the HomePod, Amazon Echo, and Google Home, surveyed from January 1-11, 2019, who owned one of those speakers as of December 31, 2018.

    Article Link: HomePod Struggling to Gain Market Share Alongside Cheaper Amazon Echo and Google Home Speakers
  2. LordVic macrumors 603

    Sep 7, 2011
    I'm not sure this comes to a surprise to anyone, except maybe Apple's executives....
  3. GreenPixel macrumors member


    Aug 21, 2014
    Not surprised at all. I'd love to get one but it's not worth anywhere near the price point it's set at to me.
  4. Martius macrumors 6502


    Jul 12, 2008
    Prague, CZ
    High price + stupid Siri = low sales. Can I get a job at Apple?
  5. Jukens macrumors regular

    Jun 13, 2013
    Apple needs a cheap smart speaker similar to the echo dot otherwise it will never compete, i enjoy my 2 homepods but I will never buy one to put in each room like I would with an echo dot. At $30 ea or 2 for $50 I could have a dot in every room for a 1/3 of the price of getting Siri in just one room.
  6. apolloa macrumors G4

    Oct 21, 2008
    Time, because it rules EVERYTHING!
    A ‘stating the obvious’ article. It may sound good, but Siri is miles and miles behind the others which is kind of the whole point of a ‘smart speaker’. So why spend more for an apple device when others can sound as good and cost the same or less and be more capable.
  7. Nozuka macrumors 68020

    Jul 3, 2012
    Not available in my country.

    But i don't see a reason to buy it. Apple does not seem to care enough about it, judging by the updates.

    I really hope they are secretly working on an entirely new Siri.
  8. Since1987 macrumors regular

    Feb 23, 2016
    Tim will spin this as good news. (ala. bent iPad is "within spec" )

    Since they are selling this product at a loss. They will lose less money by selling fewer!

    Tim's a genius!

    And they are mulling a low cost Homepod? While at the same time there is no chance in hell they will ever make another low cost iPhone. Which one would help Apple's bottom line more?
  9. WannaGoMac macrumors 68020


    Feb 11, 2007
    $249 was cheap enough for the device, but I still passed because a) Siri still blows b) To use other music services with it you have to stream to it via Airplay, which defeats the point of a smart speaker.

    I wish they would cancel HomePod and bring back Airport routers!
  10. fumi2014 macrumors regular

    May 21, 2014
    As others have mentioned, over-priced (a given with Apple) and Siri = Poor Sales.
    It's hardly rocket science, Apple.
  11. LordVic macrumors 603

    Sep 7, 2011
    The typical "fanboy" response in this thread will be

    "but amongst $354+ smart speakers, Apple sells the most!"

    setting the goalposts somewhere that is ridiculous and arbitrary.
  12. cardfan macrumors 68000

    Mar 23, 2012
    IMO, Apple will abandon this market. Homepod has already told them the ceiling isn't high on what they can charge. They let amazon have apple music. There's simply no money to be made selling these type of speakers (or at least at apple's margins). Now I do think they could go higher end offering 5.1 system with siri as a compliment to apple tv but they seem likely to abandon apple tv as well (as it simply becomes an app on tv's).
  13. Remy149 macrumors regular

    Oct 20, 2016
    I have several echo dots however I refuse to pay for them usually can get at least 1-2 through a free promotion every year. I love the HomePod but it’s not feasible to buy one for every room
  14. brian3uk macrumors 6502

    Sep 15, 2016
    Now that Apple Music is available on Echo there’s almost no reason for many people to buy a HomePod. Alexa is smarter and works with significantaly more connected devices. The improved sound of the HomePod is not worth losing those skills. Especially if you consider the sound quality of the Sonos speaker with Alexa.
  15. Remy149 macrumors regular

    Oct 20, 2016
    I don’t think they will abandon the market. It’s just obvious they aren’t trying to compete with the cheaper devices. I’m sure eventually they will release a smaller less expensive HomePod however I’m sure it will be above the $100 price range.
  16. EdT macrumors 65816


    Mar 11, 2007
    Omaha, NE
    Hmmmmm must be Tuesday because here’s the HomePod article. And look, it points to the price as why it isn’t selling.

    All snark aside most people obviously came to the conclusion that the HomePod is too expensive for what it is a long time ago. What would be informative is actual information about what Apple is going to do to correct it. Not speculation, but plans.

    Lowering the price of the current as built product is unlikely.
  17. Rogifan macrumors Core


    Nov 14, 2011
    Apple execs never talk about HomePod. I don’t think Cook mentioned it once on the most recent earnings call. If Apple really wants to be in the speaker business I wish they’d make a premium sound bar that can connect to TVs.
  18. cknibbs macrumors regular

    Dec 12, 2012
    Simple - the Echo Dot, and the Home Mini are impulse purchases when they are on sale. I’d buy for sure 4-5 HomePod minis in that price range. Also I still find it ironic I can control my Apple TV with my Google Home Mini but not with my HomePod (unless I change the setup I have and use the HomePod as the audio output for my Apple TV which doesn’t make sense in my setup)
  19. BasicGreatGuy Contributor


    Sep 21, 2012
    In the middle of several books.

    If it were half the current price things might be a little different. As is, the product is very limited in what it can do.
  20. acblue94 macrumors regular


    Jul 26, 2011
    New York, NY.
    The Echo and Google Home is trash compared to the HomePod. The HomePod needs to be compared to other high end speakers. It’s like comparing a BMW to a Toyota and Honda.
    --- Post Merged, Feb 5, 2019 ---
    Sound is amazing. And the price justifies it. If you can’t afford it buy a google home or echo which has trash sound .
  21. TonyC28 macrumors 65816


    Aug 15, 2009
    I’ll never understand what Apple was thinking with their approach to the smart speaker market. It’s almost like they thought “how can we make this thing more expensive?”.
  22. uller6 macrumors regular


    May 14, 2010
    I’ve had a completely different experience with Siri/HomeKit vs Alexa/WTF Amazon home is called. Alexa constantly misunderstands me, takes too long to complete commands, doesn’t do anything!!, or disconnects from the internet randomly. I have 3 echo dots that are slowly being retired and replaced with homepods so I actually have a functional smart home. The HomePod sound is far and away better than any of the Alexa speakers, and I can use the HomePod as an audio out device from my Mac using airplay 2. Yes they’re expensive, but for what you get they’re pretty sweet.
  23. bunce66 macrumors member

    Aug 13, 2008
    I don't know a single person who has bought this over-priced, Siri-dependent, highly limited functionality paperweight. I know dozens of people with Macs and iPhones. It's unbelievable it's been out a year and Apple is just now figuring out it's a dud.

    Cut the price in half, improve Siri, and open it up to 3rd party apps like Spotify. Maybe you'll sell a few.
  24. Fidgetyrat macrumors regular

    Jan 29, 2008
    Devices like this being locked down to the ecosystem are what prevent sales. Apple is trying to break into an existing market by offering sub-par performance and limited compatability. I realize they want to push Apple Music, but maybe allowing the other services while offering free trials as well as allowing apple music on non-apple devices would broaden their exposure.

    Ecosystems are great at protecting the apple experience, but that ecosystem shouldn't restrict services simply to promote Apple branded services. Imagine if the iPhone store only allowed Apple branded apps.
  25. ChrisMoBro macrumors 6502


    Oct 31, 2016
    Why are Sonos speakers never included in the list? Comparing the Sonos One is a more realistic comparison than budget speakers.

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