Apple is cranking out smart speakers, but tech heads aren’t listening.
US consumers bought a record 66 million smart speakers last year — up dramatically from 37 million a year earlier — but Apple nabbed only a 6 percent share of the market, according to a study released Tuesday.
The report from Consumer Intelligence Research Partners found that Amazon’s line of Echo speakers, powered by the Alexa voice assistant, continues to dominate the niche with 70 percent market share. Google had 24 percent share.
Apple’s Siri-powered HomePod, released last February, clawed its single-digit percentage mainly at the expense of Google, whose share had been 31 percent the previous year, versus Amazon’s 69 percent, according to CIRP.
Apple’s HomePod was praised for its sound quality when it was released, but critics complained that its $350 price tag was many times higher than that of speakers from Google or Amazon — which usually sell for less than $100 — and bemoaned Apple’s insistence of allowing its devices to work only with Apple Music, instead of popular music service Spotify.
“[Apple] likely won’t gain significant share until it offers an entry-level product closer to the Echo Dot and Home mini,” CIRP co-founder Josh Lowitz said.
Apple has recently recognized the chasm in popularity between the HomePod and its competitors. In January, it announced that it would make Apple Music available on Alexa devices, after keeping the music service confined to the HomePod for a year.
Apple’s smart assistant, Siri, is also entering a period of uncertainty. Bill Stasior, the executive who had led the Siri team since 2012, recently stepped down from his role.
Apple’s shares rose 1.7 percent Tuesday, to close at $174.18.