Thursday, April 12, 2018

Initial HomePod Sales

Mark Gurman (Hacker News):

By late March, Apple had lowered sales forecasts and cut some orders with Inventec Corp., one of the manufacturers that builds the HomePod for Apple, according to a person familiar with the matter.

At first, it looked like the HomePod might be a hit. Pre-orders were strong, and in the last week of January the device grabbed about a third of the U.S. smart speaker market in unit sales, according to data provided to Bloomberg by Slice Intelligence. But by the time HomePods arrived in stores, sales were tanking, says Slice principal analyst Ken Cassar. “Even when people had the ability to hear these things,” he says, “it still didn’t give Apple another spike.”

During the HomePod’s first 10 weeks of sales, it eked out 10 percent of the smart speaker market, compared with 73 percent for Amazon’s Echo devices and 14 percent for the Google Home, according to Slice Intelligence. Three weeks after the launch, weekly HomePod sales slipped to about 4 percent of the smart speaker category on average, the market research firm says. Inventory is piling up, according to Apple store workers, who say some locations are selling fewer than 10 HomePods a day.

Mike Dudas:

The HomePod is a bomb. Siri is atrocious, so it’s no surprise. I have had an iPhone at my side for nearly every moment of the last 4 years and have still made more overall queries to the Alexa I have had at home for a little over one year.

M.G. Siegler:

Shocki... nope, not shocking. Apple bungled this. And while they’ll undoubted talk up the long game (and WWDC), the problems here run deep. Unlike say, Apple Watch, this is a lethal mixture of bad strategy and formidable competitors (who have the right strategy).

Michael Sagmeister:

I tried HomePod — twice (bought & returned it 2x — don’t ask). In the end I thought it sounded great — but it couldn’t replace my Echo (because Siri), and couldn’t replace my Sonos system either (b/c lack of multi-room support). Software is holding back a great piece of hardware.

Colin Cornaby:

The thing about HomePod is it’s fixable. Apple just shipped a device that’s not workable in most homes.

Rene Ritchie:

Home assistants were priced as commodities almost at launch.

Apple tends to avoid commodities.

HomePod takes aim at a (potentially) premium segment.

Whether Apple can iterate/evangelize fast/well enough on the value prop to get consumer buy-in will be interesting to see.

Update (2018-05-18): Juli Clover:

Apple sold an estimated 600,000 HomePod speakers during the first quarter of 2018, according to new estimates shared this morning by Strategy Analytics. Apple’s sales allowed it to capture just 6 percent of the global smart speaker market, coming in well behind Amazon and Google.

Update (2018-06-15): Benjamin Mayo:

Apple recently updated the HomePod site, seemingly to remove a lot of the superlatives in the copy.

Update (2018-08-15): Joe Rossignol:

Strategy Analytics previously estimated HomePod shipments totaled 600,000 units in the first quarter of 2018, suggesting that worldwide shipments have reached 1.3 million units since the speaker became available to order in the United States, Australia, and the United Kingdom in late January.

Via Michael Love:

Seems increasingly clear that this is not an important category, though. No doubt HomePod project started before that was clear, but now that it is I think they’ll either a) let it die quietly or b) release the cheap model they were already working on and then let it die quietly.

Update (2018-09-19): Joe Rossignol:

While the HomePod did not rank among the top five smart speakers in worldwide shipments last quarter, it is dominating the premium end of the market, according to research firm Strategy Analytics.

6 Comments RSS · Twitter

>Home assistants were priced as commodities almost at launch.

That has never been a problem for Apple before.

iPod Hi-Fi 2

Oh Rene, maybe it just sucks, even if the price was lower and more mass market. People actually like their smart assistants to be useful apparently....

As an ex Echo user, I just didn't do enough to warrant having it setup, so I gave it back to my mom. She was awarded one from work, had no use for it, gave it to me, I tried it for months and months mostly just used it to listen to music so I switched back.

My mom does two things with it right now. Asks the Alexa to play random music and checks the weather. The key thing? If she wanted it to do more, it actually could....

Sorry, by "switch back", I meant going back to a simple Bluetooth speaker that was previously setup in the room with the Echo. Not "switched back" to another "smart speaker" platform.

Even now, if I need to ask a question, assuming my phone is near, I can already ask Alexa or Google anyway. It's not like I went all in and had Echoes in every room, so the phone assistant works just as well for my meager needs.

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