By Don Reisinger
August 2, 2018

Apple’s HomePod is starting to make inroads into the smart speaker market.

The tech giant’s HomePod was able to capture 6% market share in the U.S. at the end of the second quarter, earning it “small but meaningful share,” Consumer Intelligence Research Partners (CIRP) co-founder Josh Lowitz said in a statement (PDF). While that was far behind the Amazon Echo and Google Home, which earned 70% and 24% share, respectively, Apple has been able to earn that slice in just the last several months. Its competitors have been available for years.

Apple’s HomePod is decidedly different from the Echo and Home. While the alternatives are outfitted with high-powered virtual personal assistants that can control smart home appliances and work with a variety of third-party services, Apple’s HomePod is rather under-powered in comparison. Apple itself has pitched the HomePod as a high-end speaker that can perform some smart features with help from its onboard virtual assistant Siri.

For CIRP, however, the biggest problem facing the HomePod might be its price. The researcher said that the device’s $349 price tag makes it hundreds of dollars more expensive than its alternatives. And in order for Apple to capture more market share, it might need to deliver “a more competitive model,” according to Lowitz.

Interestingly, the CIRP data also sheds light on how people are buying Home and Echo. The researcher found that 34% of Echo users and 31% of Google Home users own more than one smart speaker. And in some cases, people are putting three or four units in their homes.

“Each brand wants to establish a position in a household, with units in every room,” CIRP co-founder Mike Levin said in a statement. “This seems to work, as about one-third of owners have multiple units, and almost 10% of Echo users have three or more.”

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