Apple (AAPL) is struggling to gain market share in smart speakers as rivals Amazon.com (AMZN) and Alphabet‘s (GOOGL) Google solidify their leading positions, a research firm said Tuesday.
According to a report on Investors.com, Apple’s HomePod voice-controlled smart speaker has taken just 6% of the U.S. smart speaker market as of Dec. 31, Consumer Intelligence Research Partnerssaid. Amazon’s Echo smart speakers lead the market with 70% of the installed base, followed by Google Home with 24%.
“Relative market shares have remained fairly stable, with Amazon Echo, Google Home, and Apple HomePod accounting for consistent shares over the past few quarters,” CIRP analyst Josh Lowitz said in a news release. “Amazon and Google both have broad model lineups, ranging from basic to high-end.”
He added, “Apple, of course, has only its premium-priced HomePod, and likely won’t gain significant share until it offers an entry-level product closer to Echo Dot and Home Mini.”
Apple’s HomePod costs $349. Google offers smart speakers starting at $29.99, while Amazon’s start at $19.99.
Investment bank JPMorgan suggested Monday that Apple could buy premium speaker maker Sonos (SONO) to boost its presence in the category.
Households With Multiple Smart Speakers Rising
The U.S. installed base of smart speakers reached 66 million units as of the end of 2018, CIRP said. That compares with 53 million units in the September quarter and 36 million units in the December 2017 quarter, it said.
Meanwhile, the percentage of smart speaker owners who have more than one such device has increased significantly. At the end of 2018, 35% of smart speaker owners had more than one. A year earlier, 18% of owners had two or more smart speakers, CIRP said.
“Amazon and Google have succeeded in selling multiple units to a single household,” CIRP analyst Mike Levin said. “Their strategies appear to include persuading owners to use smart speakers in multiple rooms, which helps create more active usage of the voice platform. And, Google has mostly caught up to Amazon in this strategy.”
Consumers use smart speakers to play music, get information and control home appliances using voice commands. Apple’s HomePod uses Siri voice-response technology, while Amazon has Alexa and Google has Google Assistant.
Apple stock rose 1.7% to close at 174.18 on the stock market today. Amazon climbed 1.6% to 1,658.81. Alphabet rose 0.9% to 1,151.87.