Apple’s HomePod remains only a blip in the smart speaker market

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With AirPlay 2, two HomePods now work in stereo.
Unfortunately for Apple, customers are staying away from HomePod in droves.
Photo: Apple

A drop in the price of the HomePod hasn’t helped Apple grow its share of the smart speaker market. It still has just a tiny percentage of all the units in use in the US, according to new figures from a market-research firm.

There were 76 million smart speakers in American homes and offices during the second quarter of this year, reports Consumer Intelligence Research Partners (CIRP).

That’s 6 million more than were in use in the first three months of 2019, and 26 million more than the same period of 2018. “The market grew by 9% in the second quarter, and more than 50% year over year,” said Josh Lowitz, an analyst with CIRP.

Unfortunately for Apple, it’s seeing just a small percentage of that growth. Amazon Echo has 70% of the installed base, Google Home has 25% and HomePod is at just 5%.

But Apple’s smart speaker isn’t losing ground. “Including Apple HomePod, all three major producers have maintained steady shares of the market in the past year,” noted Lowitz.

Smart speaker installed base 2019
The holidays brought a jump in sales, and the installed base of smart speakers grows every quarter.
Chart: CIRP

Most smart speakers are cheap. Homepod is not.

The difference between HomePod and its rivals is price. Apple dropped the cost of its offering by $50 this spring, down to $299. But it’s competing against the Amazon Echo Dot, which goes for $49.99 when it’s not on sale for less. The Google Home Mini is $49.

“The two leading producers have continued to introduce higher-end models with screens and upgraded sound,” said Mike Levin, a CIRP analyst. “Despite that, the market is dominated by the lowest priced models.”

The Echo Dot and Home Mini were each more than 50% of Amazon and Google’s respective installed bases during the April-to-June quarter.