Apple seems to have finally found its place in the US’ smart speaker market, after three-long years. The Cupertino giant entered the market dominated by Amazon and Google in the year 2018 with the original HomePod.
What looks like worked in the company’s favour is its decision to launch the budget smartspeaker, HomePod Mini, in October last year. According to market intelligence company Omdia, HomePod sales grew 180% during the second quarter of 2021 over the same quarter of 2020.
Apple HomePod sales increased from under a million in Q2 2020 to almost 2.5 million in the same quarter this year, as per Omdia’s smart speakers market tracker. This tracker reportedly analyzes the smart speaker sales across seven countries (US, France, Germany, UK, China, Australia, and South Korea) for companies including Amazon, Google, Apple, Alibaba, Baidu, Xiaomi and others.
Apple saw numbers grow in triple digit
Sales of Apple’s smart speakers increased by triple digits each quarter in the US after the fourth quarter of 2020. This growth has continued in 2021 as well. Omdia estimated that the HomePod and HomePod Mini both outsold all other models of smart speakers in the US during the secpnd quarter of 2021. The Google Mini was ranked third overall, with about 777,000 shipments, followed by the Echo Dot 3rd Generation with 730,000 shipments in the US.
Thanks to this impressive numbers, Apple’s market share of US smart speakers went up from 9.6% in in the first half pf 2020 to 21% in the seond half of 2021, an year-on-year shipment increase of about 245%. The report sees the discontinuation of the original HomePod too to have contributed to the spike in growth, as Apple enthusiasts are believed to have rushed to buy the remaining stock.
Needs to a new model to sustain momentum
While HomePod Mini has done wonders to Apple’s position in the smart speaker market, it alone will not be enough to sustain this growth. According to the report, Apple will need to release another speaker: A portable speaker or speaker with a display.
How the overall market performed
Overall, smart speaker shipments slowed in the US during the second quarter of the year. The year-on-year (YoY) growth stood at 16%, while quarter-on-quarter (QoQ) shipments declined by 27%.
As per Omdia, most of the slowdown can be attributed to the Amazon Alexa platform (including own branded and third-party branded speakers), which saw a decline of 31% QoQ for smart speaker shipments in the US. In fact, Google’s smart speakers claimed the number one spot, beating out Amazon during the quarter by about 800,000 shipments.
However, it’s not all doom for Amazon. As despite a slow quarter for Amazon, the first half of 2021 (1H21) still belongs to the Alexa platform, which is estimated to have 42% share, giving the brand a slight lead over Google’s 37% and Apple’s 21% market share.