Apple's HomePod, HomePod mini 'largely absent' in smart speaker market

Posted:
in iPod + iTunes + AppleTV edited August 5
New research claims that Apple's HomePod and HomePod mini come a distant third to Amazon and Google smart speakers, both of which have far more homes with multiple devices.

HomePod mini is now available in more countries
HomePod mini


The latest market report from Consumer Intelligence Research Partners (CIRP) says that over two-thirds of smart speakers in the US are Amazon's. Google accounts for about a quarter of the market, and the very little left is occupied by both Apple and Facebook.

"The installed base of smart speakers grew considerably during the COVID-19 pandemic, adding over 25 million units in the past year," said CIRP Partner and Co-Founder, Josh Lowitz, in a statement. "Amazon created the marketplace when it released the first Echo almost seven years ago."

"Two years later Google took meaningful share, but quickly plateaued at around 40% of Amazon's presence," he continued. "A few months after Google, Apple introduced its version, and failed to make meaningful inroads, with a single premium- priced model competing against products that included low-priced entry-level devices."

According to CIRP, there were 126 million smart speakers in US homes in June 2021, of which 69% are made by Amazon. CIRP also researched how many households had more than one smart speaker.

"One critical goal for everyone in the industry is to get as many units into as many homes as possible," CIRP Partner and Co-Founder, Mike Levin, said in the statement. "With multiple devices in a single home, a smart speaker platform can claim that literal real estate as theirs, as barriers to switching get very high."

"Amazon leads the way with customers with multiple devices," he continued. "We estimate over 20 million US households have more than one Echo, while about 8 million US households have multiple Google Home units."

The research firm says its estimate is that over 20 million US homes have more than one Amazon device. Around 8 million households have more than one Google device, while only 2 million have more than a single Apple smart speaker.

Smart Speaker insstalled base (source: CIRP)
Smart Speaker insstalled base (source: CIRP)


CIRP's research does not distinguish between Apple's original HomePod, and the HomePod mini. The research is based primarily on a survey of 500 US owners of smart speakers, who owned at least one device as of June 30, 2021.

Apple discontinued the original HomePod in March 2021, but stock remained available until mid-June.

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Comments

  • Reply 1 of 29
    MacProMacPro Posts: 19,428member
    Cheap, low quality often wins out in certain markets, look at VHS history.  Perhaps they shouldn't be in the same category in the first place.  HomePods are genuine music speakers which can hardly be said for the Amazon speakers.
    lkruppwilliamlondonjahbladebyronlFileMakerFellerwatto_cobra
  • Reply 2 of 29
    I guess I'm not surprised that Apple is in third place behind Amazon and Google in this race, given that Amazon relentlessly pushes really inexpensive Echo speakers on their website - Echo Dots are often available for $30, vs $100 for a HomePod Mini, vs. $300 for a HomePod.  The real question is how does HomePod Mini sell against the $100 Amazon Echo?
    Also, are they counting purely Amazon/Google products, or other compatible devices like Sonos Ones in this count?  I have a couple of Sonos Ones and Beams that support Echo and Home, but have the feature turned off...but I guess that probably still "counts" toward the totals for those services.
    byronlwatto_cobra
  • Reply 3 of 29
    macapfelmacapfel Posts: 566member
    Love mine. If Apple is in for the long run with these (which seems unclear regarding the original), they will get their share from the millions of customers owning multiple Apple devices. 
    I don’t want to have Alexa in my home. 
    flyingdpwilliamlondoncaladanianjahbladebyronlbakerzdosenBGnATCwatto_cobrajony0
  • Reply 4 of 29
    crowleycrowley Posts: 9,119member
    MacPro said:
    Cheap, low quality often wins out in certain markets, look at VHS history.  Perhaps they shouldn't be in the same category in the first place.  HomePods are genuine music speakers which can hardly be said for the Amazon speakers.
    If you can play music out of it then it's definitely a speaker.
    lam92103kkqd1337tenthousandthingsdewmebyronlelijahgdarkvaderchemengin1jony0
  • Reply 5 of 29
    gatorguygatorguy Posts: 23,302member
    I guess I'm not surprised that Apple is in third place behind Amazon and Google in this race, given that Amazon relentlessly pushes really inexpensive Echo speakers on their website - Echo Dots are often available for $30, vs $100 for a HomePod Mini, vs. $300 for a HomePod.  The real question is how does HomePod Mini sell against the $100 Amazon Echo?
    Also, are they counting purely Amazon/Google products, or other compatible devices like Sonos Ones in this count?  I have a couple of Sonos Ones and Beams that support Echo and Home, but have the feature turned off...but I guess that probably still "counts" toward the totals for those services.
    I would doubt that, but have no proof either way. Sonos doesn't make either Google or Amazon speakers and no idea how CIRP would divvy up sales between the two if they do. Heck I play Apple Music on mine.

    In any event, Sonos doesn't have much of a footprint anyway. A report from last April pegged their market share at just under 5% so they'd hardly be contributing to either the Amazon or Google numbers even assuming they are being counted in some manner.
    edited August 4 Ofer
  • Reply 6 of 29
    lkrupplkrupp Posts: 9,635member
    MacPro said:
    Cheap, low quality often wins out in certain markets, look at VHS history.  Perhaps they shouldn't be in the same category in the first place.  HomePods are genuine music speakers which can hardly be said for the Amazon speakers.
    Cheap is always better in some people’s minds.
    williamlondondewmeArchStantonjahbladebyronlwatto_cobrajony0
  • Reply 7 of 29
    kkqd1337kkqd1337 Posts: 368member
    Hopefully this Thread business will help Apple open up HomeKit faster and wider. Its been way to restrictive.
    byronlwatto_cobra
  • Reply 8 of 29
    iOS_Guy80iOS_Guy80 Posts: 553member
    macapfel said:
    Love mine. If Apple is in for the long run with these (which seems unclear regarding the original), they will get their share from the millions of customers owning multiple Apple devices. 
    I don’t want to have Alexa in my home. 
    👍
    watto_cobrajony0
  • Reply 9 of 29
    dewmedewme Posts: 3,946member
    There are two scales in play here. One is the quality scale and the other is the price scale. I can't opine on Google's offerings because I have none, but I have multiple Amazon Echos of all types and a HomePod. I would definitely say, with no hesitation whatsoever, that Amazon's smart speaker products are "good enough" wrt quality and "cheap enough" wrt price, which puts them in a very favorable position to dominate the market. I would also say that the AI bot Alexa that is present in all of Amazon's products absolutely adds to the value proposition of their products - across the board. I like some flavors of Siri better than others, but in nearly all cases Siri is at best just barely getting the job done, and in other cases absolutely pissing me off and wishing for better (or any) physical controls. As a product marketing manager you have to make the right choices and compromises, and Amazon's team have simply done a better job of hitting the sweet spots.
    OferScot1byronlFileMakerFellerdarkvader
  • Reply 10 of 29
    lkrupp said:
    MacPro said:
    Cheap, low quality often wins out in certain markets, look at VHS history.  Perhaps they shouldn't be in the same category in the first place.  HomePods are genuine music speakers which can hardly be said for the Amazon speakers.
    Cheap is always better in some people’s minds.

    Took me years to realize that cheap often meant more money in the long run. It's certainly not always true but it is frequently true. 

    Regardless, I wouldn't have a voice activated smart assisted speaker in my house if my words are recorded/transcribed into a company's servers.  Most certainly Amazon is widely doing this. And what little you can control from the app is fluffy and IMHO misleading settings such as "manage how your data improves Alexa" (we wouldn't want Alexa to not be improved, right?). 
    williamlondonwatto_cobra
  • Reply 11 of 29
    KuyangkohKuyangkoh Posts: 760member
    I have original Homepod that I sold in ebay for $199, imagine that folks will still buy them. You can still find the woofer only for sale. I wonder why?? 
    watto_cobra
  • Reply 12 of 29
    byronlbyronl Posts: 186member
    Kuyangkoh said:
    I have original Homepod that I sold in ebay for $199, imagine that folks will still buy them. You can still find the woofer only for sale. I wonder why?? 

    woofer only? wtf
    darkvaderwatto_cobra
  • Reply 13 of 29
    Kuyangkoh said:
    I have original Homepod that I sold in ebay for $199, imagine that folks will still buy them. You can still find the woofer only for sale. I wonder why?? 
    Last I looked, the original Homepod is being sold on eBay for much higher than the original price.
    watto_cobra
  • Reply 14 of 29
    If I could find another OG Homepod for $199 (or less) in good shape then I'd buy a few. I have 3 OG HomePods, 3 Minis, and one Echo dot (2nd gen) that isn't (and won't ever be again) hooked up.

    The sound from the Minis doesn't compare at all to the OG Homepods. They are on a completely different level in sound quality and output volume.

    But as different as the Mini is from the OG, the Echo Dot is just that far below the Mini in sound quality. (Which is entirely expected for a $100 product to outshine a $30-$40 product.)

    And frankly we use them more as speakers than we do as voice assistants.
    williamlondonwatto_cobra
  • Reply 15 of 29
    I think the problem apple has is their voice assistant is terrible. They could totally win this market if they actually cared about Siri but it's just sooo bad. My mother is sight impaired. So we have used all the voice assistants to see which would make her life better for her in her house. Siri was terrible, it keeps giving a visual response to an auditory question and can barely do anything. Amazon and Google are amazing. For my mother we actually switched to google completely because it just seemed to be the best at audio intelligence. I would love so much for her to have the HomePod mini from a privacy standpoint but it's just not possible with how bad it is. The sound of the HomePod and HomePod mini is great, it's just Siri is the worst product that Apple makes hands down. 
    williamlondonelijahgdarkvader
  • Reply 16 of 29
    mcdavemcdave Posts: 1,831member
    Nobody ‘owns’ a HomePod, not really.

    We can ask it to play stuff for us, set timers, answer trivia. We can even ask it to play our playlists (well, of the family member who set it up) or use it as a remote speaker. But the other night as we were going to bed we heard it playing some expletive-laden rap music from some imaginary playlist which no users have or know.  I expect it to adopt a HAL9000 voice and not let us out of the house any day now.

    HomePods, are too spooky to be popular.
    darkvaderwilliamlondon
  • Reply 17 of 29
    Well, Windows based computers have a large share of the market.  That does not mean I want one.
    williamlondonwatto_cobrajony0
  • Reply 18 of 29
    mcdavemcdave Posts: 1,831member
    Apple missed this market. Looking at where home entertainment was going they should have jumped on the sound bar bandwagon and produced a combination Apple TV + HomePod instead of an expensive not particularly smart speaker. It would probably have been the same price with far more value.
    williamlondon
  • Reply 19 of 29
    elijahgelijahg Posts: 2,506member
    This is probably due to four issues:

    Timing. Apple is often late to a market but blows everyone else away with what they introduce. HomePod's sound blew everyone away, but everything else was a let down. Unfortunately for Apple, few people will pay for high quality sound. Most listen though crappy headphones or laptop speakers so great sound wasn't much of a selling point.

    Price. The original HP was just way too expensive. 3x more than the next most expensive smart speaker at the time. They sold so poorly that in 2021 people were receiving models with serial numbers from 2017. Even the mini is expensive. Other than privacy and marginally better sound quality, what do you get from the HP mini that you can't get in a $30 Dot? For $50 you can have a "smart" Alexa home, with voice activated lights, and $30 for each additional speaker. Or you can go Homekit and the initial cost is $120, with $100 for each speaker. People are willing to pay more for Apple products because they work well. Only the HomePods don't because the main interface is decidedly less good than average: Siri.

    Siri is crap. A MobileMe-esque disaster, but Cook apparently hasn't the teeth to get it sorted out. Aside from false activations and then not activating when I say "Hey Siri", it's actually embarrassing how often it totally fails to understand. Playing a song rather than turning lights on, or answering with some unwanted quip, less than funny. I have a 300mbps fibre connection and Siri is still regularly slow to reply. Often it needs my iPhone to be on the same wifi network for things like notes and reminders, despite having full access to exactly that data via iCloud. Siri hasn't materially improved since the iPhone 4. And in some cases it's worse than the 3G's voice controls feature, i.e. it's not on-device, so it fails or is slow to reply. This has of course been partially fixed with iOS 15, but apparently requires AI hardware. The iPhone X's AI hardware isn't good enough, but the iPhone 3G's non-existent AI hardware was apparently just fine for pre-Siri voice recognition. The original HP has an A8 CPU (iPhone 6 era) so it's never going to get on-device recognition. Out of the 10 or so people I know with iPhones, no one uses Siri. It's just too unreliable. And even when it understands you, some obscure bug rears its head and the request fails even if it's the exact same request you made earlier. "Alexa" though, I hear at least once a week.

    Thirdly, features. Amazon smart speakers have a multitude of powerful skills you can install. HomePod? Nothing. Until recently you couldn't even change the default streaming provider. Shortcuts are a crap patch. Again relies on your phone to do the processing. 

    Apple is a $2tn company. It really needs to stop introducing so many "magical" next best things and then abandoning them. That's what startups do when they haven't the man power. Apple definitely has the manpower.
    edited August 4 zroger73darkvader
  • Reply 20 of 29
    elijahg said:
    Apple is a $2tn company. It really needs to stop introducing so many "magical" next best things and then abandoning them. That's what startups do when they haven't the man power. Apple definitely has the manpower.
    Alternatively, Apple should continue innovating and listening to the market to see if what they've done is worth further investment.
    williamlondon
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