According to new research by eMarketer, 168 million people will use Internet-connected TV this year, up about 10% from last year. More growth is expected for the coming years, but it looks like many consumers will be opting for hardware from Roku, Amazon, and Google instead of Apple.
eMarketer says that about half of the 168 million people using connected TV this year will do so from a Smart TV. The other half will use a set-top box like Apple TV, Roku, Google Chromecast, or an Amazon Fire TV Stick, which are the top four products on the market.
Roku leads the market with 38.9 millions users, followed by Google Chromecast coming in second with 36.9 million. Amazon Fire TV is a close third place with 35.8 million. Apple lags significantly behind in fourth place with 21.3 million users, just over 12% of the connected TV market.
While Apple TV has the Apple ecosystem going for it, and Amazon Prime Video coming sometime soon, eMarketer analyst Paul Verna detailed a few reasons why Apple has seen lackluster adoption. One of the main reasons for many consumers is that shelling out 4 to 5 times the price of a Roku or Amazon Fire Stick for an Apple TV just isn’t worth it.
“Apple TV has been held back by the absence of a compelling content offering, a lack of support for increasingly popular Amazon video content and a much higher price bracket than its competitors,” Verna said. “Apple TV devices currently start at $150, whereas Google, Amazon and Roku all sell streaming sticks that are priced well below $40.”
Verna notes that Roku’s success has come from a neutral strategy that differs from Apple, Google, and Amazon:
As the only major market participant not affiliated with a content or TV device platform, Roku has used its neutrality to strike deals with a wide range of partners, including smart TV makers, over-the-top (OTT) service providers and social media companies,” said Verna. “That expansive strategy, combined with the company’s broad selection of connectivity devices at various price points, has put Roku at the head of the pack.”
Verna went on to predict that Apple will only net about 4 million more users in the next several years.
Apple TV will continue to fall further behind its rivals in the coming years. As competitors add between 20 million and 30 million users by the end of 2021, Apple TV will add less than 4 million.
Meanwhile, Apple has continued working on its original content efforts to provide a more convincing offering to its customers. Last month, the company hired two Sony executives to lead its original content production. The delayed Carpool Karaoke is set to debut next month. As for Planet of the Apps, it’s hard to know exactly how the show is doing, but probably not too hot, if our last poll is any indication.