Apple’s HomePod shipments surged 45% in holiday quarter

The final results are in and they confirm that smart speakers were the hottest consumer electronics product in 2018. Strategy Analytics’ latest research shows that Q4 shipments grew 95% to 38.5 million units. This was more than the entire 2017 total and brought the 2018 tally to 86.2 million units. Amazon and Google enjoyed a particularly strong quarter thanks to the popularity of their low-cost Echo Dot and Home Mini speakers and both companies recorded quarter-on-quarter increases in market share. Apple’s HomePod sales rose 45%, but its market share fell back to 4.1% in Q4.

David Watkins, Director at Strategy Analytics, commented in a statement: “Smart speakers and smart displays were once again the most sought-after tech products this past holiday season and we estimate that more than 60 million households worldwide now own at least one device. Smart displays such as Google’s Home Hub, Amazon’s Echo Show and Baidu’s Xiaodu Zaijia are proving popular with consumers who are attracted by the combination of audio and visual stimulus and the wider range of use cases compared to speaker only devices. Smart displays made up more than 10% of total shipment demand in Q4 2018 and they are expected to be a significant driver of growth in the market through 2019.”

David Mercer, Vice President at Strategy Analytics, added in a statement, “The major technology vendors have done a great job at establishing the voice assistant market and our research shows that users are highly satisfied with the way smart speakers are improving their daily lives. Now comes the question of how to monetize the user base and it will be interesting to see how each player addresses this challenge. The first step will be to encourage wider and more frequent use of apps and services via smart speakers that carry a revenue generation opportunity for the device OEM or platform provider. Voice shopping and ad-insertion are obvious examples but the industry must address the data security and privacy concerns of smart speaker users before these become viable revenue streams.”

Strategy Analytics: 2018 Global Smart Speaker Sales Reached 86.2 Million Units on Back of Record Q4

Source: Strategy Analytics, Inc.

MacDailyNews Take: Of course, Apple does not play the market share game, selling units for the sake of selling units. Apple sells premium products to premium customers at premium prices. Apple’s unit sales in relation to vendors pumping out cheap POS junk is virtually meaningless. Apple’s HomePod sales increasing 45% on the other hand is very meaningful as every buyer will be or become an Apple Music subscriber, generating the type of recurring revenue that very few $49 speaker buyers would ever provide.


  1. Yep so as I expected smart displays are becoming popular and yet having been left behind on the smart speaker market Apple didn’t think about bypassing the speaker advantage of competitors by using their own iPad advantage to jump ahead. The thinking is de ideally crystalline at Apple these days. Seems like everything is designed by committee having explored what the opposition are doing 2 years after the event and simply copying them with a percieved twist. What ever happened to the puck analogy.

  2. There is going to come a point, with widespread adoption of HDR and better systems, that speakers, especially smart speakers, with great sound will become very important to the user.

    Android powered smart speakers have dismal sound reproduction, as their very low price indicates.

    How hard would it be for an Android smart speaker user, that paid under $75 for the unit, to give it up for the far superior sound experience of HomePod? I don’t think it will be difficult at all.

    HomePod will follow the example of iPod that was declared way to expensive, but quickly put dozens of digital music players manufacturers (selling lower cost devices) out of business because it was demonstrably better.

  3. I generally agree with MDN — but, I own 2 HomePods, for their music quality. But Siri is SO much dumber than Alexa. I also own 3 3rd gen Echo Dots and feel their over all usefulness is greater than HomePod.

  4. … but Amazon Echo/Dot sales surged 450%, which means Apple’s HomePod is perceived to be a failed product. /s

    It all comes down to what company has the most market share and Apple has the least. Amazon can put a smart speaker in every room including the garage and Alexa follows you around wherever you go. Most consumers will purchase no more than one HomePod and will be out of touch with Siri most of the time. Apple’s strategy for a smart home is far behind Amazon’s strategy or for that matter, every other company’s strategy of placing listening devices in your home that listen to you 24/7/365. Amazon and Google have thoroughly beaten Apple in selling smart home devices.

    I certainly don’t want any sort of eavesdropping device in my home but I seem to be in the minority. Supposedly, everyone is supposed to enjoy having these smart devices. However, I’m just not the type of person to be talking to pets, plants or computers.

  5. Work around to Amazon 3rd gen speakers was to hook up to a pair of Adam F5 speakers that wasn’t being used and severely limiting what Alexa was allowed to do, ie remove all contacts except my own, turn off 1 click orders, etc. Amazon Music is free with Prime account. Sound quality likely better than HomePod but personal security remains to be improved. For example a song was mistaken for an order and I found it in my shopping cart. Most versatile music system is a bluetooth receiver hooked up to powered speakers – not chained to a single streaming music provider.

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