After Apple's HomePod delay, Amazon touts budget Echo Dot as best selling Black Friday pur...

Posted:
in Future Apple Hardware edited November 2017
Just days after Apple delayed its HomePod speaker and personal assistant into 2018, Amazon's low-priced Echo Dot was the company's top seller over Black Friday and Cyber Monday, giving the online retailer an even greater lead over rivals in the home speaker market.




Both the Echo Dot and Amazon Fire TV Stick with Alexa Voice Remote were the best selling products from any manufacturer in any category across all of Amazon, the company boasted in a press release on Tuesday.

In addition, the Echo Dot was the best selling device at Whole Foods Market over the holiday weekend, which included the Black Friday and Cyber Monday shopping days.

As is usual for the company, Amazon declined to offer any specifics on hard sales number for any of its devices. The Echo Dot is Amazon's entry-level home personal assistant, and has been available for $29.99 to kick off the Christmas gift buying season.

For $30, the Echo Dot targets a far different audience than Apple's forthcoming $349 HomePod. Apple, instead, has positioned the HomePod as a high-end speaker for music lovers, while Siri-driven personal assistant capabilities are a side benefit of the hardware.

But industry watchers have speculated that a high price and late entrance into the home personal assistant space could hamper the success of Apple's HomePod.





Earlier this month, Apple announced that the HomePod would not make its December launch window, and will instead become available in early 2018. That has raised the question of how many prospective HomePod buyers will instead opt for alternatives from Amazon or Google.

Google, in particular, has taken aim at HomePod with a similar $399 price and feature set with the Google Home Max. And unlike HomePod, the Home Max is expected to arrive in December.

Google also offers the Home Mini voice assistant for $49, as an alternative to the Echo Dot. Amazon's lineup, meanwhile, includes the $99.99 Echo, the $149.99 Echo Plus, the $129.99 Echo Spot, the $229.99 Echo Show, and the $199.99 Echo Look.
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Comments

  • Reply 1 of 33
    "In addition, the Echo Dot was the best selling device at Whole Foods Market over the holiday weekend, which included the Black Friday and Cyber Monday shopping days."

    What other "devices" can one even purchase at Whole Foods?
    tokyojimuRobPalmer9baconstangAirunJaeStrangeDayswatto_cobra
  • Reply 2 of 33
    What does one have to do with the other? Or is the headline suggesting people bought the cheap Echo Dot because HomePod was delayed?
    randominternetperson
  • Reply 3 of 33
    What does one have to do with the other? Or is the headline suggesting people bought the cheap Echo Dot because HomePod was delayed?
    There is a growing smart home speaker/assistant market, and Apple is losing ground to competitors who not only have incredibly cheap products on the market, but full-fledged lineups at various price points. Apple, meanwhile, has yet to release its sole home speaker/assistant.

    I'm not suggesting that people bought the cheap Echo Dot solely because the HomePod was delayed — the two products compete (or at least they will compete, at some point) in vastly different categories and price points. But the two stories are related because Apple continues to lose ground to competitors after missing their self-imposed shipping deadline. The HomePod delay is a gain for Amazon and Google, in both direct and indirect ways.
    supadav03muthuk_vanalingam
  • Reply 4 of 33
    One has nothing to do with the other except for link bait.
    SpamSandwich
  • Reply 5 of 33
    Sonos One would be a far more suitable thing to talk about.  
    baconstang
  • Reply 6 of 33
    snookie said:
    One has nothing to do with the other except for link bait.
    snookie said:
    Sonos One would be a far more suitable thing to talk about.  
    Neither Sonos nor Amazon said anything about Sonos one sales over the weekend, so I don't have a point of reference. But if they did (or if Google did), I would report on that too. Quit it with the lame "link bait" accusations. This is an Apple-focused site, and we cover industry news within the context of Apple. because that is what is relevant to our readers.

    The fact that the $30 Echo Dot outsold all other Echo models says just as much about Amazon's customers as it does the market for these devices. Readers are free to draw their own conclusions. If you don't think that the HomePod delay is relevant, fine, let's debate it here without disparaging the website.
    king editor the gratesupadav03pscooter63muthuk_vanalingamAirunJae
  • Reply 7 of 33
    An Echo Dot is quite inexpensive and shouldn't be compared to Apple's non-shipping HomePod. If the article is just about Amazon being run better than Apple is being run, then that's an entirely different story. I suppose Amazon is also being praised for selling more Kindle HD 10 tablets than Apple is selling iPad Pro tablets. I don't quite see the relevance when Amazon and Apple have entirely different business models. Both business models do seem to work rather well. However, Wall Street certainly sees Amazon as being a better run company than Apple, so maybe that's what counts.

     I'm not sure why anyone would want an Echo Dot in every room but that's just from my perspective. I suppose if you're sitting on the toilet and don't want to read the newspaper, the Echo Dot would be of some use in getting instant information. I didn't grow up in a time where huge amounts of current information were constantly at my fingertips. I had to make due with aged encyclopedias and such.  It's funny.  I've had Alexa on my Fire TV 2 for a couple of years and have only used Alexa a few times to test it.  It works OK, but I guess I don't actually require such an assistant.  I must be in the minority.

    Is Apple really being crushed by Amazon because the HomePod isn't shipping yet? I had no idea the smart assistant market was so lucrative. Amazon must be selling tens of millions of these Echos, yet I don't personally know one person who owns one.
    edited November 2017 randominternetpersonbaconstangAirunJaeStrangeDays
  • Reply 8 of 33
    nhughes said:
    What does one have to do with the other? Or is the headline suggesting people bought the cheap Echo Dot because HomePod was delayed?
    There is a growing smart home speaker/assistant market, and Apple is losing ground to competitors who not only have incredibly cheap products on the market, but full-fledged lineups at various price points. Apple, meanwhile, has yet to release its sole home speaker/assistant.

    I'm not suggesting that people bought the cheap Echo Dot solely because the HomePod was delayed — the two products compete (or at least they will compete, at some point) in vastly different categories and price points. But the two stories are related because Apple continues to lose ground to competitors after missing their self-imposed shipping deadline. The HomePod delay is a gain for Amazon and Google, in both direct and indirect ways.
    Is a late HomePod really something Apple needs to fret over?  If Apple repatriates its overseas cash early next year, I'm sure that amount would more than offset a late HomePod.  It would seem Amazon would have to sell tens of millions of Echo Dots this month to amount to any real revenue.  Profit margins on Echo Dots couldn't be very high.  Besides, what's to stop consumers from dumping their cheap Echo Dots and purchasing a HomePod when it's available.  A few Echo Dots don't add up to very much in cost or do Echos have a large moat or something that consumers couldn't give up?
  • Reply 9 of 33
    That Amazon crap won't even be in the same league as the HomePod when it's released. Quit with the comparisons please.
    baconstangwatto_cobra
  • Reply 10 of 33
    tzeshantzeshan Posts: 1,843member
    Will Amazon ever be charged with selling fake products?
    https://www.amazon.com/dp/B0721XTRL2/ref=dp_cerb_1
    watto_cobra
  • Reply 11 of 33
    nhughes said:
    [...] The fact that the $30 Echo Dot outsold all other Echo models says just as much about Amazon's customers as it does the market for these devices. Readers are free to draw their own conclusions. If you don't think that the HomePod delay is relevant, fine, let's debate it here [...]
    I'm struggling to draw any conclusions other than the Dot is a good way to try out an Echo without investing too much in it. But if all these new customers learn from the experience is that they use it to play music and not much else, then it may not lead to people upgrading their Echo.

    Neil, et al. -- when HomePod does appear, one thing I'd really like to see is a comparison between Chromecast Audio and Airplay 2. That feels like the heart of the issue.

    Speaking for myself, I might try an Echo to put in the kitchen and order groceries, when that becomes possible. But it's HomePod for me otherwise.
    AirunJae
  • Reply 12 of 33
    k2kwk2kw Posts: 1,512member
    nhughes said:
    What does one have to do with the other? Or is the headline suggesting people bought the cheap Echo Dot because HomePod was delayed?
    There is a growing smart home speaker/assistant market, and Apple is losing ground to competitors who not only have incredibly cheap products on the market, but full-fledged lineups at various price points. Apple, meanwhile, has yet to release its sole home speaker/assistant.

    I'm not suggesting that people bought the cheap Echo Dot solely because the HomePod was delayed — the two products compete (or at least they will compete, at some point) in vastly different categories and price points. But the two stories are related because Apple continues to lose ground to competitors after missing their self-imposed shipping deadline. The HomePod delay is a gain for Amazon and Google, in both direct and indirect ways.
    Thanks for the article.   Amazon is a competitor to Apple in Tech(TV set top box, music streaming,  digital movies , books, and music) , and tablets.   so yes this is very relevant.   I expect Amazon to release an "Alexa" phone a some point in the next two years.   Expect it to be a forked android.   Maybe free with advertising.   Bezos is a tougher competitor than google.   Amazon has to keep growing and cell phones could be the next market to enter.
    nhughes
  • Reply 13 of 33
    jbdragonjbdragon Posts: 1,930member
    I have to say, I ordered 12 of the Echo Dots Monday!!! I actually wanted to order 18 of them, but Amazon has a 6 limit on them. So I ordered 6 from my normal account. I setup a business account and ordered 6 more, and the person got someone in the front office I think to order 6 more, to get the 18 she wanted.

    I have NONE. But I did just installed a Ecobee4 a week ago which has built in Alexa support. I got Alexa setup on it, but I also have Homekit setup on it as that's what I would be normally using and it works great. I can say, Hey Siri, set the temp to 68 and it'll do it, along with other things and I didn't have to do anything.

    My Dad lives with me and was trying to use Alexa to adjust the temp and it wasn't working. I didn't know why off hand, though I could tell it to set a timer or show me the weather. Stuff like that. I'm a Homekit house and the stuff just works. As I thought about it today at work I realized I must have to setup some Alexa Skill. I just assumed Alexa is built in, that I didn't have to do anything. After all I didn't have to do a single thing once I got Homekit setup. I figured I had setup Alexa that it should also work, but it didn't. Found out there's a Ecobee Plus skill I needed to setup.

    With Homekit I can just say Hey Siri, Adjust the temp to 68, and it's smart enough to know to adjust the temp on the Ecobee. With using Alexa, I guess I have to go Alexa, Echobee temp to 68 or some such thing. I'll have to look up the things to can say to use it again.

    To me, Homekit is better. it just works. I can open and close my Garage door by just saying Hey Siri, Open garage door and it opens!!! That's it!!! With one of my Homekit switches that I have hooked up that turns on/off the lights on one side of my garage, using Apple's Home app, I have it linked to the Garage door. When the door opens, the light comes on, when it closes the light goes off. It's great as I can see at night much better then what little light comes from the garage door opener. Best of all, I don't even have to use Siri. I can use the normal push button on the wall and it still works and the normal remote control in the car. It's linked no matter what. Since it's a switch. I can still use Siri to turn that light on/off, or manually push on the switch on the top or bottom to turn on/off.

    I can do it anywhere, at anytime from my iPhone or better yet, my Apple Watch. Lift wrist, speak what I want done and that's it, it works!!! It's really pretty reliable. I just think the Echo's and even Apple's Homepod are old tech. It's a device locked into a room by a power cord. You are not going to have one in your car, or in your front or back yard, or away from home. Siri works everywhere I'm at. On the Apple Watch even better. Why people don't think Apple has already been in this game?!?! Apple's sold far, far more Apple Watches then Amazon has sold Echo's.

    But Ya, I tried to order 18 Echo Dots for the girl at work, (With her own credit card), that have a 6 per person limit. So with a business account, I got another 6 for her, and then someone else got another 6 for her. I had order a couple of these in t he past for her, which she was sending to her sister who lives out of the country. So I've been ordering all these Dot's and I don't have a single one. She's giving them out as gifts. For $30, not a bad deal. But it's Amazon's Ecosystem. Looking at the reviews for most of the skills I've been looking at, it's been mostly 2-3 stars. So not the greatest. I'm going to get a couple like PLEX and try them out, but I have ZERO plans to own any other type of Alexa device.

    The Ecobee 4 though is a really nice device. Right now you can get one for $199 at Amazon, but I saw them for the same price when I was at Home Depot Yesterday. That's $50 off the normal price. If you happen to have a few Echo's already, the Ecobee 4 now supports ESP. Which means only the Echo closest to you responds. Before the ESP support, you really did get a Echo as the Echo in your house and the Ecobee 4 would both respond at the same time.

    I'm sure Amazon is selling a ton of these things as they're so cheap, trying to be the #1 company in this area. When you're on top, everyone supports your platform. Which only helps them. So far, not a fan, still think Homekit is better. I guess if you want to play games like Jeopardy, when then you can't do that with Homekit, have to use a Echo. Darn!!!! Home Control, Homekit I think is better. Answering my questions, Siri has been doing a great job for me in that area. I find it strange how so many complain about Siri, and I wonder if they're using the Same Siri I am?!?! I use it mostly on my Apple Watch these days. it's great. I just automated a couple of my blinds with MYSMARTBLINDS which you can get on Amazon for $99. They have a deal where if you get the $45 solar charger at the same time, it's FREE. So I got 2 kits and 2 solar chargers. Easy to install. I had no problem setting them up in the app. The down side is it's Bluetooth only, which I get because it runs on battery's which normally will last 6-12 months on a charge without the solar charger. You plug into a mini USB jack to charge back up. You can set it up to open and close on it's own, and a number of other things and then it'll work without your phone being around. There is a hub coming out March 2018, that will support Amazon Alexa to start, so not the end for me as I could use my Ecobee 4, but also firmware updates in time to support Samsungs SmartThings, Google Home, and Apple's Homekit, which I can't wait for. Then I can just go hey Siri Open computer room blinds and BAM!!! Alexa, you'll have to install some Skill and tell it however way extra to get it to open.
    edited November 2017 gregoriusm
  • Reply 14 of 33
    yet I don't personally know one person who owns one.
    As if one has anything to do with the other. 

    I've had a Dot for a few months. The learning curve is a little obscure for me, and it often misfires. Somewhere along the line Amazon incorporated Hue control. I didn't need to add any skillz.

    After I saw that the HomePod would be delayed I saw the BF price at $30 and ordered another.  I would have ordered itt anyway for that price. Maybe even one more the next time it's at $30. Alexa seems to work much better than Siri in a lot of areas, but has a few quirks of her own. 

    I hope Apple ups Siri's game significantly by the time the HomePod eventually ships. 
  • Reply 15 of 33
    Those smart people who bought it last week could be even smarter, and could have waited a bit more until Amazon and Google both give these "products" for free, as hunger for ever more private user data justifies the cost of manufacturing. 
    Another way of distribution for Amazon would be a free Echo Dot in a box of organic cereal available at Whole Foods Market near by.
    edited November 2017 randominternetpersonbaconstangwatto_cobra
  • Reply 16 of 33
    tenthousandthings said:
    I'm struggling to draw any conclusions other than the Dot is a good way to try out an Echo without investing too much in it. But if all these new customers learn from the experience is that they use it to play music and not much else, then it may not lead to people upgrading their Echo.

    ...

    Speaking for myself, I might try an Echo to put in the kitchen and order groceries, when that becomes possible. But it's HomePod for me otherwise.
    The Dot is a good way to get your feet wet with Alexa. Neither it or the Echo are worth much musically without external speakers. The Dot sounds like most cellphones, and though the Echo is much better, that bar is still pretty low. But, there are people who will be satisfied with either for casual listening while they work. People who are or think they are critical listeners will need the powered speakers of their choice, and preferably not Bluetooth, but BT will be satisfactory for a lot of users.

    The Dot, Echo, and Show have far more capability than merely music, weather reports, and Chuck Norris jokes. But I haven't found any tutorial to walk me through all of their functionality, so they're underutilized by me.

    I've got one in the bedroom and one in the living room. I'm inclined to get another for the kitchen, but I'll wait until I get a better handle on the functionality. 

    The HomePod is interesting for it's musical potential and I'll be getting one. Given the state of Siri capability, I see it as merely an add-on at this point. Siri is better at understanding different ways of asking it questions where Alexa needs fairly specific and limited ways to ask her question. The Apple HiFi was a nice sounding bit of kit, but it wasn't Hi-Fi. I hope Apple does much better with the HomePod and improves Siri significantly.
  • Reply 17 of 33
    dewmedewme Posts: 1,858member
    At $30 USD the Amazon Echo Dot is cheap enough to buy just to play around with and just to see what it does - even if you're planning to buy a HomePod when it finally hits the streets. Missing the Christmas sales season is a big ouch for Apple but in the end the HopePod will be judged based on its utility and attractiveness to buyers. I'm still on the fence about the HomePod. Heck, I'm not sure that having a voice assistant has any value for me and my personal lifestyle. I'm very familiar with the utility of voice assistants for work related applications and have even used the Alexa APIs for voice queries for industry applications. But at home I don't really feel the need - yet, mostly because I'm all-in on Apple's ecosystem and Alexa doesn't have access to most of my valued content. But you know what, for $30 smackers I can experiment with the Amazon Echo Dot and maybe I'll be inspired. If it's a bust I'll skip Starbucks for a few days to recoup my financial loss and give away the Dot to charity. No harm and no foul. 

    On a side note, I know of one older couple that treats their Amazon Echo as a pet - to the point of dressing it up in a variety of doggie clothing outfits. Very strange but I'm sure Bezos loves it.

    Lastly, as much as I do direct almost all of my computing and entertainment interests and purchases towards Apple, I'm also a very long time Amazon customer (~ 19 years) and the relationship I've had with them has always been amazing. I'm never impressed when companies, Amazon included, copy Apple, but Amazon does some things extraordinarily well, including customer service, responsiveness, speed, disruption of existing markets, and fearlessly trying out crazy new ideas like the Dash buttons. They are not afraid to fail and learn multiple times to hone in on the real need. Also no company worships at the feet of CLV more than does Amazon. 

    The HomePod being late to market is not going to put a dent in Apple's customer loyalty, but Amazon is going to relentlessly keep doing what they do exceedingly well and grab everything they can when the opportunity arises. Apple needs to keep its A-game polished, keep pressing, and make sure it's always running like the fine oiled machine that Tim Cook set it up to execute on-command and on-time. There's no room for errors and stumbles, no matter how small.


    tokyojimu
  • Reply 18 of 33

    "In addition, the Echo Dot was the best selling device at Whole Foods Market over the holiday weekend, which included the Black Friday and Cyber Monday shopping days."

    What other "devices" can one even purchase at Whole Foods?
    Lots. You obviously didn't bother looking before saying something stupid. 

  • Reply 19 of 33
    I’ve been holding off for an Apple smart speaker and will continue to wait for the HomePod but I hope Apple eventually adds a Dot style device as well. There are some compelling use cases for a device like this an adding several $300 speakers to bring Siri to all corners of my house isn’t feasible. 
    watto_cobra
  • Reply 20 of 33


     I'm not sure why anyone would want an Echo Dot in every room but that's just from my perspective. .
    Easy way to control your home automation devices. My kids are too young for an iPhone or Apple Watch and they don’t carry their iPads around with them 24/7 like you would one of those other devices. So by having a Dot in their rooms they have the ability to control the smart lights, smart fan, and play music/check weather  in their rooms. I’m not ready to spring for several $300 HomePods to give them this functionality but if Apple made a Dot style device I’d add it to the bedrooms while having 1-2 Homepods in the common rooms. 
    tokyojimu
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