Amazon Continues to Dominate U.S. Smart Speaker Market

Amazon's Echo speakers continue to be the most popular smart speakers in the United States, and will remain in the dominant spot through at least 2021, according to new smart speaker user estimates shared today by eMarketer (via TechCrunch).

An estimated 69.7 percent of U.S. smart speaker users will use an Amazon Echo product in 2020, a number that's down slightly from the estimated 72.9 percent of smart speaker owners who used an Echo in 2019. In 2021, Amazon is estimated to see another small drop in usage, with eMarketer suggesting 68.2 percent of smart speaker owners will use an Echo.

Note: eMarketer says the percentages total over 100 percent because some smart speaker owners have more than one brand.

Google is expected to make some headway against Amazon, but eMarketer does not believe that the "Other" category, which includes Apple's HomePod, the Sonos One, and other smart speakers, will gain significant ground over the next two years.

An estimated 31.7 percent of smart speaker owners will use a Google device in 2020, while 18.4 percent will use speakers in the Other category. In 2021, that number is expected to grow to 32 percent for Google and 18.8 percent for the Other category.
Since Amazon first introduced the Echo, it has built a convincing lead in the U.S. and continues to beat back challenges from top competitors," said Victoria Petrock, a principal analyst at eMarketer. "We had previously expected Google and Apple to make more inroads in this market, but Amazon has remained aggressive. By offering affordable devices and building out the number of Alexa skills, the company has maintained Echo's appeal," she added.
eMarketer expects the number of U.S. smart speaker owners to grow over the next several years, but ownership numbers will rise slowly. 28.9 percent of internet users also have a smart speaker, a number that will grow to 30.5 percent next year.

Though Apple's ‌HomePod‌ recently turned two, Apple has had some difficulty securing a foothold in the smart speaker market. Apple's ‌HomePod‌ was priced at $349 when it launched in February 2018, but Apple dropped the price to $299 in April 2019. Even at $299, the ‌HomePod‌ is significantly more expensive than Amazon's Echo lineup, which includes smart speakers at multiple price points. Amazon's lowest priced device, the Echo Dot, sells for $30 and sometimes dips even lower.

Apple was hoping that the superior sound of the ‌HomePod‌ would draw customers to pay extra for sound quality, but the more affordable prices of the Amazon Echo and Google Home have been more appealing to most consumers. Amazon doesn't have quite the same advantage in non-U.S. markets because it supports fewer non-English languages than other speakers like the Google Home, so that is an area where Apple could make inroads into the smart speaker market.

‌HomePod‌ rollout has been slow, though, with the device limited to the United States, United Kingdom, Australia, Canada, France, Germany, Spain, Mexico, China, Hong Kong, Japan, and Taiwan

Apple is rumored to be working on a new, more affordable version of the ‌HomePod‌ with reduced tweeters, which could be released at some point in 2020. A lower price point will help the ‌HomePod‌ better compete with the Amazon Echo and the Google Home, but it will likely be difficult for Apple to catch up given the lead Amazon and Google have in the smart speaker market.

Related Roundup: HomePod
Buyer's Guide: HomePod (Neutral)

Top Rated Comments

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1 week ago
My wife and I were joking about many smart devices we have now. I laughed. My wife laughed. Alexa laughed. Good times.
Rating: 31 Votes
1 week ago
As they should.

Not even factoring in special priced deals, Amazon offers:

Decent speakers for $79, good speakers for $119, and excellent speakers for $199. Even the latest Echo Dot has halfway decent sound for $29.

Apple completely priced themselves out of the market with the $349 price tag.
Rating: 18 Votes
1 week ago
In fairness, Apple isn't trying very hard. HomePod seems like a dead product so far...
Rating: 16 Votes
1 week ago
The HomePod isn't good enough for audiophiles, and, it's too expensive for everyone else.
Rating: 15 Votes
1 week ago
Apple's HomePod is a good example of confused identity.

Some said it's a speaker first, but you can't connect to it via Bluetooth nor with an aux. You also can't tweak the EQ settings, and you have to trust Apple's tunings. Certain "audiophiles" said this is the best sounding speaker ever for its price range, but it seems they also thought BOSE sounded great too.

Then others have said it's a smart speaker with privacy focus, then Apple got caught with contractors listening to recordings.

I still feel that if Apple prices this much lower AND removes Siri AND is less dependent on the Apple ecosystem, people like me would buy it. If not, then it will continue to be what it is today.
Rating: 10 Votes
1 week ago
I wish I could use Siri, but I can't. Alexa is really just better©. The most frustrating thing is that Siri won't read content to you; it'll forward you to a web page. I mean crap, if I wanted to read a web page I'd have searched for it on my phone.

Does Siri work better on a HomePod? On the phone it's just really bad.
Rating: 9 Votes
1 week ago

Apple was hoping that the superior sound of the HomePod would draw customers to pay extra for sound quality

I'm just guessing, but people who really care about audio quality will buy proper sound systems. For everyone else, they're fine with just having any speaker that makes noise (be it podcasts, music, etc.). So Apple's real target is prosumer. Add in the lack-luster Siri and the HomePod isn't much of a product.

Like others in this thread have said, you can get a Google or Amazon product that's easily "good enough" for most people for a significant fraction of the HomePod price.
Rating: 9 Votes
1 week ago
So I'm seeing lots of comments saying things like "Just get an Echo Dot if all you want is a cheap smart speaker" or "No serious audiophile would buy a HomePod, they'll have their own custom setup"

I fall somewhere in the middle, personally. I do need some kind of a smart speaker because I have a lot of smart home accessories to control, and I do consider myself at least an appreciator of fine audio quality. Add to that the fact I'm already deeply engrained in Apple's ecosystem, and the HomePod quickly starts to look like the perfect solution. Whether it actually is or not, I'm not sure. But I've had mine now about a year and a half and I haven't regretted buying it even once.

Also, the microphone array they put in this thing is AMAZING! Siri can hear me regardless of the ambient volume in the room, or even if I'm not in that room at all. It's crazy.
Rating: 8 Votes
1 week ago
My problem with the Homepod isn't the price but the lack of connectivity. Apple decides to stop developing the homepod and I will have a bricked useless speaker, because of no audio linein.
Rating: 7 Votes
1 week ago
Yeah, the price for the home pod is just too high. I ended up buying a couple echo's during the black friday and cyber monday deals. Paid less than 120 for 2 of the nicer ones. One for the bedroom and one for the living room.
Rating: 6 Votes

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