It has been more than two years since the last time that Apple landed in totally unknown territory, with the arrival of the Apple Watch to the wrists of consumers around the world. Now, Apple is making its final preparations to carry out a new movement in this direction with the HomePod, which will mark its debut in the wireless speaker market.
On the other hand, just as Apple did not invent smart watches, it also did not create the infamous connected speakers – this is a market that is already relatively consolidated and that already has its own main players, idiosyncrasies and dynamics. The Apple has to know all this in depth before entering it if you want to have any chance of winning it.
That said, this recently published study by Strategy Analytics it’s a good way to analyze how the wireless speaker market is doing. According to the economic analysis firm, the segment grew 62% over 2016, with 14 million units sold worldwide. And the big responsible for the jump was, guess what, the Amazon – according to the report, Echo speakers accounted for 77% of the increase in demand.
With that, the retail giant jumped to the market leadership, interrupting a long reign of the Only U.S – which, still in 2014, held more than half of the connected speakers segment. In 2016, approximately 5 million Amazon Echo devices were shipped against about 4 million Sonos devices. It is worth noting that the survey takes into account, without distinction, both smart devices, such as Echo or Google Home, and traditional wireless speakers, such as solutions from Sonos, Bose or Harman Kardon.
Regarding HomePod, Strategy Analytics says that the upcoming Apple device will compete more directly with Sonos devices than with Amazon and Google solutions – even though the Apple product has integration with Siri and the Ecosystem. iCloud as an important part of its foundation, HomePod’s number one objective is still to deliver maximum sound quality and a good listening experience, placing it in a category closer to that of dedicated music speakers.
We will come back to this subject a year from now to see how things will be there.