Both Google and Amazon are in the smart speaker business for a long period. The companies also offer speakers at a varied price range. A Google Home speaker, for example, can be purchased for as little as $129; however, the mini version can be bought for $49. On the other hand, an Amazon Echo costs just $99.99. The Echo Dot is even more affordable at $49.
Apple is the latest entrant in the smart speaker business. It released its first smart speaker just a few months back, in February. Company’s sole speaker, the HomePod, costs $349. Apple heavily focused on audio quality with hopes that the consumers would be willing to pay higher for a device that had superior sound. But the higher price tag, lack of native support for music services like Spotify and a delayed feature set have likely hindered Apple’s sales.
Apple Inc sold an estimated 600,000 HomePod speakers during the first quarter of 2018. The company could capture just 6 percent of the global smart speaker market, lagging in well behind Amazon and Google. Amazon shipped an estimated 4,000,000 Echo smart speakers during the quarter, accounting for a 43.6 percent share of the market. Google shipped an estimated 2,400,000 million Google Home speakers, accounting for 26.5 percent market share. Alibaba, with 700,000 shipments, also came in ahead of Apple. Xiaomi trailed behind with 200,000 speakers sold in the same period.
Google and Amazon have seen enormous growth in shipments over the past year. Amazon’s shipments increased by 2,000,000 compared to Q1 of 2017, while Google’s numbers grew by 2,100,000.
There were an estimated 9,200,000 smart speaker units shipped across all vendors during the Q1 of 2018. Currently, Apple is the fourth largest smart speaker brand worldwide with its HomePod. But its little sales are not yet impacting Google and Amazon.
However, Amazon’s market share has declined year over year due to rising demands of Google speakers and new entrants to the market like Alibaba, Apple and Xiaomi. Nevertheless, Amazon retains its number one position as a smart speaker vendor in the world by far.
Director of Strategy Analytics, David Watkins commented:
Amazon and Google accounted for a dominant 70% share of global smart speaker shipments in Q1 2018 although their combined share has fallen from 84% in Q4 2017 and 94% in the year-ago quarter. This is partly as a result of strong growth in the Chinese market for smart speakers where both Amazon and Google are currently absent. Alibaba and Xiaomi are leading the way in China, and their strength in the domestic market alone is proving enough to propel them into the global top five.
The HomePod is still new, and Apple just entered the smart speaker market. So, the improvements and modifications to future products could change its position drastically. It could pose some real competition for Amazon and Google. As reported by Economic Daily, the company is rumoured to be considering a low-priced HomePod that would perhaps cost $150 to $200 to the customers.