Commentary

Amazon's Echo Show Leads Apple's HomePod

Despite Apple’s ability to turn phones into gold, its foray into the smart speaker market dominated by Amazon is facing much more of an uphill climb.

Apple’s Siri-controlled HomePod, recently announced and expected to begin selling in December, isn’t generating the excitement that often surrounds Apple product launches, according to a new study.

Apple isn’t alone launching new smart speaker products. Amazon recently added to its Echo family the Echo Look and the Echo Show, which has a screen, so consumers have more ways to interact with Alexa.

When compared to Amazon’s Echo Show, Apple’s HomePod doesn’t fare so well, based on the study by BI Intelligence, which comprised a survey of 2,000 consumers in its research panel.

Apple is expected to sell 5 million HomePod in the product’s first year on the market, compared to 9 million Echo Shows.

Interestingly, consumers were more aware of the HomePod (67%) than the Echo Show (52%). However, the HomePod generates less excitement, with only 5% saying they would get the speaker as soon as it is released.

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The main reason consumers are shying away from the HomePod is the $349 price, compared to the Amazon Echo Show at $229, Amazon Echo at $180 and Google Home at $129. Here are the reasons consumers say they won’t buy an Apple HomePod, according to the BII study:

  • 33% -- It’s too expensive
  • 23% -- I’m not interested in a connected home speaker
  • 15% -- I have something like it already
  • 13% -- I don’t use devices in Apple’s ecosystem
  • 8% -- Not interested in the premium speaker features
  • 8% -- I’m worried about my privacy

On the positive side for Apple, 25% of the likely HomePod buyers expected they would purchase one within a year. On the positive side for Amazon, 28% of Amazon Echo buyers expected to get one within a year, some of whom already preordered one.

There may be market leaders and laggards, but the digital voice-assistant market is booming.

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