Until a few years ago, before basically becoming the epicenter of the company’s new service strategy, Apple TV was considered a “hobby” by Apple – that is, a product with little sales but consistently well rated by its consumers and, perhaps because of that, with a prominent place in the company’s catalog. Now, everything is designed so that the HomePod take that place.
In Canalys’ latest study [PDF] on the global market for smart speakers, Apple ceased to have a place among the top five manufacturers in the segment and entered the category “others”, which encompasses the entire remaining universe. In other words, HomePod still does not get a particularly warm reception from the public, even with regular Apple advertising and even a reasonable cut in its price.
It is true that the fact that Apple entered the cake of secondary manufacturers has some explanations: the main one is the fact that China has strongly surpassed the United States as the main consumer market for smart speakers. The Asian country saw sales of these devices grow by 500% in the first quarter of 2019 compared to the same period last year; with that, stayed with 51% From smart speakers sold in the world – the USA got 24%.
With the Chinese dominance of the category, much of the Top 5 stayed with local companies – not least because the Chinese are increasingly inclined towards companies created within the Wall, as we saw again yesterday. Unsurprisingly, Amazon took the leadership of the category, taking 22.1% of the market and 4.6 million devices shipped. Google, Baidu, Alibaba and Xiaomi completed the first five placements – all with growth, except Baidu, which recently entered the market and has already achieved great success.
Will Apple need to create a cheaper version of HomePod to compete more strongly in this market or is the company comfortable in its current position?