Strategy Analytics is out today with a new report on smart speaker sales for the 2018 holiday quarter. The good news for Apple is that HomePod saw almost 50% QoQ growth, which is impressive for the premium smart speaker. The entire category saw its best quarter and year yet with just shy of 40 million units shipped for Q4 2018 and 86.2 million smart speakers sold across 2018.
Previously, HomePod was believed to have captured about 6% of the smart speaker market. Strategy Analytics’ new data says that HomePod grew 45% for the 2018 holiday quarter compared to Q3 as it sold 1.6 million units. But because its competitors saw even more growth, Apple’s smart speaker saw a slightly lower 4% market share of the category for the quarter.
Overall, the firm believes the smart speaker market saw sales of 38.5 million units in the quarter, almost 100% YoY growth. Amazon is still leading the pack wit hits Echo speakers with Google in second place and moving closer.
Global smart speaker shipments climbed 95% year-over-year in Q4 2018 to reach 38.5 million units and push full year shipments to more than 86 million. Amazon continues to be the worldwide leader for smart speaker shipments and has managed to grow share for consecutive quarters. Google also had a strong quarter and closed the gap further on Amazon.
As for Amazon and Google’s quarter over quarter growth, they saw an 93% and 121%, respectively.
While Apple has continued to slowly rollout HomePod to more countries, it’s high price point and Apple-only ecosystem support naturally make it a more niche product. However, as 9to5Mac’s Zac Hall previously mentioned an affordable HomePod mini could be an important move for Apple.
Offering a much smaller HomePod-like speaker that still features Siri control could fill a gap in the market for Apple and give customers a taste of the HomePod experience for around $60. Like what HomePod mini can do? Buy one for every room, or buy HomePod for the living room for the best audio experience.
Another way Apple could improve the appeal of HomePod is open it up to third-party music services like Spotify, Pandora, and more. That’s just what Amazon did earlier this year as it expanded its Echo speakers to work with Apple Music.