While it is far to early to call the Apple HomePod a failure, it is certainly clear that Apple’s take on the smart speaker is struggling to gain ground in the market. According to a new report at Bloomberg, the company has cut orders of the smart speaker and stores are starting to have inventories of the device pile up as they simply can’t get them sold.
The HomePod has been available for roughly ten weeks now and has managed to land about 10% of the smart speaker market. That is a distant 3rd behind Amazon Echo (73% of the market) and Google Home (14%). These figures are according to Slice Intelligence.
To make matters worse, inventories at Apple Stores are starting to pile up. According to the Bloomberg report, there are stores that are selling few than 10 Apple HomePod units per day. Long time Apple watcher Gene Munster has told Bloomberg that Apple will sell around 7 million HomePods this year, while Amazon will sell 29 million Echos and Google will see 18 million Homes.
The numbers overall aren’t surprising for several reasons. First, the smart speaker market is highly competitive and dominated by Amazon and Google. They account for a combined 87% of the market. Breaking into that market is difficult at the best of times. Just as Microsoft, who’s Harman Kardon Invoke, powered by Cortana, hasn’t even broken the 1% barrier. Second, Apple fumbled the launch of the Apple HomePod. It was suppose to be available for the holiday season last year and it wasn’t available until early this year. That was a big miss revenue and units sold wise.
Finally, and perhaps the biggest issue with the HomePod is that it is severely limited in functionality. If you are not using Apple’s services and apps, you pretty much are out of luck. It can’t even link up to Spotify. That, of course, is Apple’s normal mode as they aim their products more-or-less for their faithful.