Amazon maintains massive lead over Apple in US smart speaker market

Posted:
in General Discussion edited February 2020
Amazon's share of the U.S. smart speaker market is expected to contract slightly in 2020 and 2021, according to new research from eMarketer, but the dip is unlikely to faze the e-tailer whose popular Alexa-powered Echo devices enjoy a commanding lead over segment competitors Google and Apple.




The latest estimates from eMarketer, released on Monday, put Amazon's U.S. marketshare at 72.9% in 2019, up 2% from the year prior. That figure is expected to decline to 69.7% in 2020 and 68.2% in 2021 as more consumers buy into the market, loosening the online retailer's stranglehold.

Still, Amazon's current and predicted marketshare more than doubles that of its closest challenger Google, which held a 31.1% piece of the pie in 2019. The search giant is expected to see its stake increase to 31.7% and 32% in 2020 and 2021, respectively.

Google's estimated growth mirrors that of "other" manufacturers and individual product lines, a group of smaller players that includes Apple's HomePod, Harmon Kardon's Invoke and Sonos One. Last year, some 17.9% of smart speaker users owned a device that falls into the catchall category, a figure expected to increase to 18.4% in 2020 and 18.8% in 2021, according to eMarketer.

"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."

eMarketer Smart Speaker


In the U.S., eMarketer sees the smart speaker market to grow to 83.1 million users this year, up 13.7% year-over-year. Growth is anticipated to fall into the single digits in 2021.

CIRP in a report last year also estimated Amazon to command roughly 70% of the U.S. smart speaker segment on the back of a wide range of Echo offerings. Apple, which fields one premium product in HomePod, accounted for an estimated 6% of the market.
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Comments

  • Reply 1 of 53
    k2kwk2kw Posts: 2,048member
    I don’t know anyone with a HomePod.   Sounds like the number 17.9%  is a little high even with the sales they have had.   I’m often surprised by the number of non-techie people have an echo.   Has Apple published any numbers in the last year on the number of HomePods sold.
    I would not be surprised if a lot of them sold were stereo pairs at Christmas.
    chemengin1
  • Reply 2 of 53
    I’m surprised it’s this close. 
  • Reply 3 of 53
    dewmedewme Posts: 3,814member
    The HomePod is an exceptional audio listening device that also happens to support voice interaction. Primary emphasis is audio performance.
    The Echo is a device with exceptional voice interaction that also happens to play audio.  Primary emphasis is voice interaction performance.

    Frankly, I could not be happier than to be able to put an Echo device in just about every room of my house, including the garage and utility spaces. I can listen to podcasts, radio stations, and my Apple Music with reasonably decent (inexpensive boom box level) audio quality while I work or do household chores. When I want to kick back and immerse myself into my personal music collection, it's time for the HomePod or headphones. When you really care about how it sounds, the HomePod rules. If it's background filling audio, the Echo (especially the larger ones) are perfectly fine. Having access to Apple Music across both families of devices is totally awesome.




    supadav03geekmeetokyojimuStrangeDaysMacProredgeminipa
  • Reply 4 of 53
    I really hope the rumors of an “HomePod Mini” turn out to be true. HomeKit works so much better for me than Alexa. I’m constantly having to reset Alexa and re-add my Hue lights. Then once i actually do get it connected again, it doesn’t recognize the command. 

    Me: “Turn on the lights in the boys room” 
    Alexa: “Do you mean Hue white lamp 5?” 
    Me: Grrr..!!!!!!

    Only reason I use Alexa at all is because of price. I suspect most people who buy Echo devices buy for that same reason. $25 gets you a voice assistant/smart speaker for every room. I can’t afford to put $300 HomePods in all the rooms of my house. Even if the HomePod Mini was still $99, that would be low enough for me to ditch Alexa. 

    edited February 2020 redgeminipa
  • Reply 5 of 53
     Has anyone at AI read DED's essays published in AppleInsider that explain the folly of comparing products like Echo to Apple's HomePod.    Not the same things at all.

    It's like a Fitbit is a competitor to Apple Watch because they both occupy wrist space and are digital devices.   


    pscooter63macguigeekmeehcrefugeeWgkruegerStrangeDaysDan_DilgerbaconstangMacProredgeminipa
  • Reply 6 of 53
    macguimacgui Posts: 2,045member
    I'm extremely disappointed with Siri on the HomePod. It's not as good as Siri on any iDevices, and even then not great.

    Siri should be much better and more capable then it is. The HomePod, to my ear, needs a little work in the form of an equalizer. It's sound it just to bass heavy for my taste. There needs to be more presence, more mid, and more highs.

    Even though it's supposed to auto-adjust frequency balance for a room's sonic vagaries, the Apple provided baseline favors bass more than I like, at the expense of mid and upper clarity. My echo Show is also bass heavy, even for voice, which is all I use it for outside of home automation.

    While the Echo line and HomePod are two different product categories, they do have commonalities that can't escape comparison. They are not an either or for me. I'd never have a HomePod in the kitchen, but the Dot is right at Home. I'd never listen to music on an Echo unless I added some decent speakers, and that's not why I have them. News, weather, podcasts are fine on it, when I'm not near my HomePod.

    But a HomePod mini? I think those will sell only to those already having good or better experiences with HomePod(s). I wonder what percentage of HP owners fall into that group.
  • Reply 7 of 53
    Apple doesn't sell any speaker device in the price range of an Echo or discontinued Spot, so it would be very difficult for Apple to compete with Amazon in terms of market share percentage. I think Apple mainly sells products that are targeted to make profits. I could afford to purchase a couple of reduced-price HomePods, but I prefer not to have any dedicated listening devices in my home. I'd rather just have some regular AirPlay speakers without listening capabilities.
    pscooter63crosslad
  • Reply 8 of 53
    k2kw said:
    I don’t know anyone with a HomePod.   Sounds like the number 17.9%  is a little high even with the sales they have had.   I’m often surprised by the number of non-techie people have an echo.   Has Apple published any numbers in the last year on the number of HomePods sold.
    I would not be surprised if a lot of them sold were stereo pairs at Christmas.
    The 17.9% number isn't the HomePod market share number.  It's the market share of the "Other" category.  "Other" includes the HomePod and all the smart speakers that don't have significant enough market share to warrant a separate data point.  Similar to the PC market share reports that lump the Surface devices in the "Other" category because the sales don't warrant a break out.
    muthuk_vanalingam
  • Reply 9 of 53
    This would be the second Apple speaker that has failed to get traction. If I was advising them, I would probably kill the HomePod and acquire a company (Sonos would be my first choice) assuming they still want to compete in this category. Just my 2 cents...
    larryasmaffeichemengin1
  • Reply 10 of 53
    Since none of these companies release sales figures, I don’t know how this could possibly be an accurate assessment of this market.
    StrangeDaysredgeminipaFileMakerFeller
  • Reply 11 of 53
    macguimacgui Posts: 2,045member
    Apple needs to rethink their marketing campaign with the HP, and maybe not even mention Siri. It's natural for 99% of the public to equate the HP to Echo, and Siri to Alexa.

    I just don't think that Apple Music and AirDropping your iDevice to an HP is rewarding enough on its own. It isn't for me, but I've got one and it's a pain for me to sell off kit. Not that I hate to get rid of it- the selling process in a PITA.
    CloudTalkin
  • Reply 12 of 53
    I have 2 HomePods in my living room connected to my Apple TV 4K and for watching tv and movies they sound great. I thought that because I subscribed to iTunes Match I would have an easy time accessing all of my music but that has not proven to be the case at all. Often times I am just casting music to them with is not the experience I had in mind when I decided to order them. I too, like some others have mentioned have Alexa devices in the house and most times I walk into another room in the house to ask Alexa a question or set a reminder because HomePod either can’t do it or it just doesn’t understand the question. For 2 speakers that pack in an A8 they are very disappointing all while my cheap echo dot and fire stick are constantly adding new skills and interesting ways to interact with them. If Apple wants to stay in this market they have a very long way to go not only in price but also performance. If Siri still sucks then what is the point of introducing a HomePod mini?
    tokyojimuanantksundaramsandordewmeFileMakerFellermuthuk_vanalingam
  • Reply 13 of 53
    robjnrobjn Posts: 263member
    Of course if you count the ‘speakers’ on all the iPhones, iPad, Watches, Macs and Apple TV’s you find that Apple’s assistant is everywhere and with a much broader international and multi-lingual reach.

    Personally, we love HomePod. It sounds great and interacts beautifully and effortlessly with all the other Apple stuff we have.

    For example, with the new lyric feature in Apple Music, one of our favorite things is to play music from the Apple TV with the HomePods as a source. This is also a great setup for Music Videos. I can adjust playback from any iPhone or iPad in the house or even Apple Watch. This kind of integration is awesome!
    dedgeckoStrangeDays
  • Reply 14 of 53
    DAalsethDAalseth Posts: 1,717member
    Not really in the market for a speaker, smart or otherwise. 
    But if I was, there is no way I'd have one of those Amazon listening devices in my home. 
    StrangeDaysbaconstangsandordecoderringGeorgeBMacredgeminipaFileMakerFeller
  • Reply 15 of 53
    I've been quite happy with my HPs.  One in the bedroom to ask for weather, news, traffic and using Automation, able to wake me up with music (angelic choir singing).  I particularly like to listen to a Workout playlist as I get ready for my bike rides.  Both now turn on and shut off AppleTV. Both control the Hue lights. Bedroom light also turns on 15 minutes after the music starts in the morning. 

    Use the living room HP to listen to Tv and movies. Music when I'm cooking, reading and just generally chilling out.

    To repeat the comment above, no way in hell I would have a Google or Amazon device in my device when they've shown to be spying on their customers.  Sorry. No wait, not sorry.
    edited February 2020 StrangeDaysredgeminipa
  • Reply 16 of 53
    HomePod is a bust. Get it to work with every TV — e.g., by throwing in an HDMI slot — or watch it disappear into nothingness in the next year or so. 

    What a wasted opportunity. At the moment, it’s just Apple’s stupid, sad HiFi speaker redux. 
    chemengin1muthuk_vanalingam
  • Reply 17 of 53
    HomePod is a bust. Get it to work with every TV — e.g., by throwing in an HDMI slot — or watch it disappear into nothingness in the next year or so. 

    What a wasted opportunity. At the moment, it’s just Apple’s stupid, sad HiFi speaker redux. 
    I have been noting the AppleTV updates including multiple wifi airplay and now atmos support for LG TV, so might such be in the works for HomePod ? Personally I wish there was a non-siri HP entirely focussed on audio at a lower price along with physical analogue and digital inputs, and maybe a portable rechargeable version similar to Sonos move...
  • Reply 18 of 53
    robjn said:
    Of course if you count the ‘speakers’ on all the iPhones, iPad, Watches, Macs and Apple TV’s you find that Apple’s assistant is everywhere and with a much broader international and multi-lingual reach.

    Personally, we love HomePod. It sounds great and interacts beautifully and effortlessly with all the other Apple stuff we have.

    For example, with the new lyric feature in Apple Music, one of our favorite things is to play music from the Apple TV with the HomePods as a source. This is also a great setup for Music Videos. I can adjust playback from any iPhone or iPad in the house or even Apple Watch. This kind of integration is awesome!
    I can’t believe I had to get this far down for someone to call this to the comment community’s attention. DED would be ashamed of us.

    The “smart” speaker is in nearly every Apple device. The only reason the Echo is what it is is because the Fire phone failed and Amazon wanted Alex in peoples home at the cheapest price possible. Never mind google assistant and Siri already on everyone’s phones.

    Was it a successful pivot from Fire Phone to Echo Speaker?  We know that Amazon barely makes any profit on them given they are never NOT on sale. I’m sure they bring in a fair amount of revenue, but they definitely aren’t profit drivers. 
    edited February 2020 StrangeDayspscooter63chabig
  • Reply 19 of 53
    slurpyslurpy Posts: 5,317member
    Can't believe people are comparing a $30 piece of trash that is literally included as a freebie with SO many tech products, etc, to a $300 audiophile grade, ultra high quality speaker as if theyre even remotely comparable.
    StrangeDayspscooter63MacPro
  • Reply 20 of 53
    karmadave said:
    This would be the second Apple speaker that has failed to get traction. If I was advising them, I would probably kill the HomePod and acquire a company (Sonos would be my first choice) assuming they still want to compete in this category. Just my 2 cents...
    You make it sound like they’re going for market share over profit. Is the HP profitable? I have to assume yes. By your Church of Market Share argument, they should ditch the Mac and buy a company like Acer. 

    Why?
    Rayz2016pscooter63MacPro
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