Friday, 27 April, 2018

Apple HomePod disappoints with slow sales after tardy debut

No Echo here: Apple reportedly cut orders for its HomePod smart speaker last month HomePod sales below expectations, Apple goes slow on manufacturing
Theresa Hayes | 12 April, 2018, 16:16

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.

Things haven't been looking up either, with a massive demand decline noticed by analysts just three weeks into the HomePod's commercial run, and inventory now "piling up" in most Apple Stores, as some locations are merely able to push a few units out the door every day.

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.

Today's report failed to specify Apple's sales expectations for HomePod, nor did it assign a figure to the supposed order reduction.

According to Bloomberg's sources, Apple has long viewed HomePod as a speaker first and internally viewed the device as an accessory that would work with other Apple products rather than a standalone product. It now account for around just 10% of the smart speaker market.

APPLE'S HOMEPOD isn't selling as well as the company had hoped, forcing it to lower sales forecasts and cut orders with suppliers.

Siri on HomePod can answer basic questions, play back and interact with audio content (currently limited to Apple services), control HomeKit devices, set timers and more. It's worth noting that Apple, in the weeks and months preceding the HomePod release, made a point of noting that its main objective with the device was to release a smart speaker with unrivaled acoustic performance.

Yet for now, no matter how you slice it, Amazon's echo lineup is the undisputed leader in the smart speaker market segment and whining about it won't change a damn thing. Slice reports that during its pre-order weekend, the HomePod grabbed 72% of smart speaker revenue.

Meanwhile, Amazon's Echo earned 73 percent market share during the same 10-week period, according to data Bloomberg obtained from Slice Intelligence. In February and March that dropped to 19%, compared to 68% for Amazon, 8% for Google, and 5% for Sonos. By contrast, Munster predicts that Amazon will sell 29 million Echos this year and 39 million in 2019. Alphabet is expected to sell 18 million Google Home devices this year and 32 million next year.

For its part, Apple hasn't divulged sales or sales forecasts.