HomePod Struggling to Gain Market Share Alongside Cheaper Amazon Echo and Google Home Speakers

Apple's expensive HomePod speaker accounted for just six percent of the U.S. smart speaker installed base through the fourth quarter of 2018, according to research firm Consumer Intelligence Research Partners.


CIRP estimates that the U.S. installed base of smart speakers reached 66 million units last quarter, suggesting that HomePod sales in the country have totaled around 3.96 million units since the speaker became available to order in January 2018. Apple does not disclose exact HomePod sales figures.

By comparison, the Amazon Echo and Google Home accounted for a commanding 70 percent and 24 percent of the installed base respectively as of last quarter, with both products proving to be popular holiday gifts.


At $349, the HomePod is significantly more expensive than the Amazon Echo and Google Home. The small, entry-level Amazon Echo Dot and Google Home Mini models in particular were available for as low as $25 during the holiday season, while the HomePod is only available in one size.

"Amazon and Google both have broad model lineups, ranging from basic to high-end, with even more variants from Amazon. Apple of course has only its premium-priced HomePod, and likely won't gain significant share until it offers an entry-level product closer to Echo Dot and Home mini," said CIRP co-founder Josh Lowitz.

To improve sales, many resellers offered the HomePod for $249 during the holiday season. Even now, the speaker is available for $279.99 at Best Buy, a $70 discount compared to its price on Apple.com.

In fairness, the HomePod also launched two to three years after many of its competitors, and sales remain limited to the United States, United Kingdom, Australia, Canada, France, Germany, Spain, Mexico, China, and Hong Kong. But without a steeper price cut, the speaker faces an uphill battle.

In April 2018, well-connected analyst Ming-Chi Kuo said Apple was "mulling" a "low-cost version" of the HomePod, potentially due to shipments of the current version being "far below market expectations." A report out of China said the lower-cost HomePod could be priced between $150 and $200 in the United States.

It's unclear if Apple would be willing to release a HomePod speaker with inferior sound quality versus the current model. Last year, a Chinese report said the lower-priced HomePod could actually be a Siri-enabled Beats speaker.

CIRP bases its findings on its survey of 500 U.S. owners of the HomePod, Amazon Echo, and Google Home, surveyed from January 1-11, 2019, who owned one of those speakers as of December 31, 2018.

Related Roundup: HomePod
Tag: CIRP
Buyer's Guide: HomePod (Neutral)

This article, "HomePod Struggling to Gain Market Share Alongside Cheaper Amazon Echo and Google Home Speakers" first appeared on MacRumors.com

Discuss this article in our forums

CIRP Says iOS Loyalty ‘Hit the Highest Levels We’ve Ever Measured’ Last Quarter

Nine out of every ten iPhone users who upgrade their smartphone will stick with the iPhone, a recent survey suggests.


Consumer Intelligence Research Partners surveyed 500 consumers in the U.S. who activated a new or used phone in the final three months of 2018 and found that 91 percent of iOS users upgraded to another iPhone. Android users were also loyal, with 92 percent of respondents upgrading to another Android smartphone.

CIRP said loyalty for both iOS and Android has steadily increased, reaching the highest levels it has ever measured last quarter.


"Loyalty hit the highest levels we've ever measured," said CIRP co-founder Mike Levin. "Learning a new operating system takes effort, so fewer and fewer customers have found the need to switch. This, coupled with the quality and reliability of new phones is likely contributing to the longer upgrade cycles we are witnessing."

Tag: CIRP

This article, "CIRP Says iOS Loyalty 'Hit the Highest Levels We've Ever Measured' Last Quarter" first appeared on MacRumors.com

Discuss this article in our forums

HomePod Estimated to Have 3 Million Sales and 6% Market Share in United States

The installed base of smart speakers in the United States, including the Amazon Echo, Google Home, and HomePod, has reached a combined 50 million units, according to research firm Consumer Intelligence Research Partners.


CIRP estimates that, of that installed base, the HomePod has increased its market share to six percent as of the second quarter of 2018, ending June 30, implying that HomePod sales have now crossed three million in the United States.

By comparison, the Amazon Echo has 70 percent market share in the United States, with the Google Home at 24 percent, so the HomePod has significant ground to make up, which is to be expected since it only launched this past February, two to three years after its biggest competitors.

Even now, the HomePod is only available in the United States, United Kingdom, Australia, Canada, France, and Germany.


Josh Lowitz, Partner and Co-Founder of CIRP, suggested that it may be difficult for Apple to gain additional market share among smart speakers, unless it releases a more competitively priced model:
Apple introduced HomePod in the first quarter, and now has a small but meaningful share. It took a small share of the market from both Amazon and Google. Still, Amazon has a two-year head start, and Amazon and Google each have a low-priced device that accounts for at least half of unit sales, so it's not clear how much further Apple can establish itself in the market without a more competitive model.
Back in April, well-connected Apple analyst Ming-Chi Kuo said Apple was "mulling" a "low-cost version" of the HomePod, potentially due to shipments of the current $349 version potentially being "far below market expectations."

A report out of China said the lower-cost HomePod could be priced between $150 and $200, although it's unclear what tradeoffs would be made to achieve that price point. Most reviews agree the HomePod sounds great, but isn't so smart, so it's hard to envision that Apple would compromise on sound quality.

A few months ago, another Chinese report said the lower-priced HomePod could actually be a Siri-enabled Beats speaker.

Apple doesn't disclose HomePod sales, instead grouping it under its "Other Products" category in its earnings reports, alongside the Apple Watch, Apple TV, AirPods, Beats, iPod touch, and accessories. In May, research firm Strategy Analytics estimated HomePod shipments totaled 600,000 in the first quarter.

CIRP said its findings are based on its survey of 500 owners of the Amazon Echo, Google Home, or HomePod in the United States, who owned one of these devices as of June 30, 2018. The survey was conducted between July 1 and July 18.

Related Roundup: HomePod
Tag: CIRP
Buyer's Guide: HomePod (Buy Now)

Discuss this article in our forums

Apple’s iPhone 8 Plus Was the Top Selling iPhone in the U.S. During Q2 2018

Apple's iPhone 8 Plus was the number one selling iPhone in the United States during the second quarter of 2018 according to new data shared today by Consumer Intelligence Research Partners.

The iPhone 8, iPhone 8 Plus, and iPhone X accounted for 54 percent of US iPhone sales during the quarter, with the iPhone 8 making up 13 percent of sales, the iPhone 8 Plus making up 24 percent of sales, and the iPhone X making up 17 percent of sales.


Older iPhones continued to be popular as well, with the iPhone 7, 7 Plus, SE, 6s Plus and 6s making up 46 percent of sales. Apple's Q2 2018 sales are a deviation from its Q2 2017 sales, where the iPhone 7 and 7 Plus, the flagship phones at that time, made up more than 80 percent of sales.
In what is usually a quieter quarter for iPhone sales, the model breakdown is interesting, as older models persisted in popularity," said Josh Lowitz, CIRP Partner and Co-Founder. "The latest iPhone 8, 8 Plus, and X models accounted for a little more than half of sales, yet last year at this time the then-latest iPhone 7 and 7 Plus accounted for over 80%. And, the iPhone 6S, 6S Plus, and SE grabbed 20% in the past quarter, virtually the same as in the June 2017 quarter, though at lower price points. So, it looks like two-year old legacy iPhones have squeezed the newer models. Still, because Apple increased base storage and boosted prices, we expect Average Selling Price to increase nicely over the June 2017 quarter."
Combined, the iPhone 8 and iPhone 8 Plus made up 37 percent of purchases, far exceeding purchases of the iPhone X, according to CIRP's data.

This is likely attributable to the high price of the iPhone X, with pricing that starts at $999 vs. the iPhone 8's $699 starting price. Given the popularity of the two lower-cost devices, Apple plans to continue offering consumers an affordable option in 2018 with the 6.1-inch LCD iPhone that rumors suggest will be sold alongside more expensive 5.8 and 6.5-inch OLED models.

As for iPads, the low-cost iPad continues to be the best selling tablet, with CIRP lumping the 5th and 6th-generation models together. 31 percent of customers bought a low-cost iPad during the quarter, but the iPad Pro was also popular with a combined 40 percent of sales for the 10.5 and 12.9-inch models.


While CIRP's data can provide an interesting look at the iPhones customers in the United States are choosing to purchase, it's worth keeping in mind that CIRP's numbers are aggregated from surveys that encompass just 500 customers who purchased an iPhone, iPad, or Mac during the second quarter of 2018, which spans from April to June.

Tag: CIRP

Discuss this article in our forums

Android Switchers Represent 15-20% of iPhone Buyers, Tend to Opt for ‘Plus’ Models

Most recent Android owners who switch to the iPhone ecosystem tend to opt for the iPhone 8 and iPhone 8 Plus, according to a new report sent to MacRumors today by Consumer Intelligence Research Partners. The data was gathered during the fiscal quarter that ended March 31, 2018 and is based on a survey of 2,000 U.S. Apple customers who purchased an iPhone during that time.


In a given quarter, CIRP estimates that between 15 and 20 percent of iPhone buyers are switching over from the Android operating system. In terms of popularity, these switchers are opting for the iPhone 8 and 8 Plus (40 percent of those moving from Android to iOS), and to a lesser extent the iPhone 7/7 Plus (about 25 percent) and 6s/6s Plus (about 12 percent).

Android users switching to iOS also tend to buy a "Plus" model iPhone more than iPhone owners looking for a new device. In total, 39 percent of Android switchers purchased a Plus model, compared to 29 percent of iPhone users buying another iPhone. "With Android manufacturers offering larger form factors for a longer time, it appears that Android owners appreciate iPhones with larger screens, as well," explained CIRP Partner and Co-Founder Mike Levin.


For older models, more former Android owners are buying the 7, 6s, and iPhone SE models than those users buying an iPhone who already previously owned an iPhone. This makes sense, as current iPhone owners are likely moving on to the latest models, while Android switchers are more content with entering Apple's ecosystem with a slightly older model.
“In marketing iPhones, Apple attempts to persuade current users of Google’s Android operating system to switch to its iOS operating system,” said Josh Lowitz, CIRP Partner and Co-Founder.

“Apple has had varying success, with seasonal variation in the percentage of buyers that are making the switch. We analyzed how Android owners that switch to Apple iPhones differ from repeat iPhone buyers. The former Android users gravitate to the lowest-priced iPhone models, which makes sense to us, with Android phones offering a wide range of models, many at relatively low-price points. And since everything on an iPhone is new to them, there is less value in purchasing the latest flagship model with the most advanced features.”
For the iPhone SE, Android switchers purchased the low-cost smartphone at twice the rate as iPhone owners during the six months ending in March 2018, proving the ongoing entry-level popularity of the small device. On the opposite end of the spectrum, Android switchers purchased the iPhone X (currently the most expensive iPhone) at half the rate as iPhone owners.

While today's report focuses on switching operating systems, CIRP's last survey looked at users who stick with an OS and discovered that Android had a 91 percent loyalty rate in 2017, compared to 86 percent for iOS. This meant that for those users surveyed, Android customers were more loyal to the Android operating system than iOS users were to the iOS operating system.

In April, Apple encouraged Android owners to switch to iPhone with a set of new ads in its "Life's easier on iPhone" series. The videos focused on iPhone features like the App Store, Portrait Mode, and Portrait Lighting, and the company linked back to its "Switch" website that's designed for customers who use an Android device or other smartphone and are thinking of switching to an iPhone.

Tag: CIRP

Discuss this article in our forums

Android Continues to Have More Loyal Customers Than iOS

Android customers continue to be loyal to the Android operating system than iOS users are to the iOS operating system, according to new data shared today by Consumer Intelligence Research Partners.

Android saw a 91 percent loyalty rate in 2017, compared to 86 percent for iOS, with loyalty rates for the two operating systems remaining largely steady since early 2016. Android loyalty has hovered at 89 to 91 percent since January 2016, while iOS loyalty has been between 85 and 88 percent.


Operating system loyalty for the year was measured by the percentage of customers that remained with each operating system when activating a new phone over the twelve months ending in December 2017. CIRP says its findings are based on quarterly surveys with a sample of 500 subjects each.
"Loyalty for both Android and iOS increased in 2015 and into 2016, when it leveled off for both operating systems," said Mike Levin, Partner and Co-Founder of CIRP. "Loyalty is also as high as we've ever seen, really from 85-90% at any given point. With only two mobile operating systems at this point, it appears users now pick one, learn it, invest in apps and storage, and stick with it. Now, Apple and Google need to figure out how to sell products and services to these loyal customer bases."
With the Android operating system, customers have access to a range of different smartphones that are all able to run Android, which may explain why it has a higher loyalty rate. Android devices are also typically more affordable than iOS devices, with a wider range of low-priced options available.

As CIRP points out, with fewer and fewer first-time smartphone buyers available, poaching customers from competing operating systems is becoming increasingly important. Apple regularly aims to lure Android users to iOS through trade-in options, videos, a Move to iOS app to make transitioning simple, and a "Switch" website dedicated to explaining all of the reasons why the iPhone is better than competing smartphones.
"We know Android has a larger base of users than iOS, and because of that larger base, the absolute number of users that switch to iOS from Android is as large or larger than the absolute number of users that switch to Android from iOS. Looking at absolute number of users in this way tends to support claims that iOS gains more former Android users, than Android does former iOS users."
These loyalty rates are not equivalent to switcher rates, where iOS wins out. With a larger Android customer base, more customers are switching over to iOS devices on a regular basis. During earnings calls, Apple CEO Tim Cook always touts the high number of Android switchers Apple sees, with each quarter setting a new record.

Tags: CIRP, Android

Discuss this article in our forums

iPhone X Accounted for 1 in 5 Smartphones Sold by Apple in United States Last Quarter According to Survey

Every one in five smartphones sold by Apple in the United States in the fourth quarter of 2017 was an iPhone X, according to data shared with MacRumors by research firm Consumer Intelligence Research Partners.


Below is the exact model-by-model breakdown of Apple's total iPhone sales between October and December, based on the firm's survey of 500 consumers who purchased an iPhone in the United States during that period.

  • iPhone 8: 24 percent
  • iPhone 8 Plus: 17 percent
  • iPhone X: 20 percent
  • All other iPhone models: 39 percent

Consumer Intelligence Research Partners co-founder Josh Lowitz says the iPhone 8, iPhone 8 Plus, and iPhone X's combined 61 percent share of Apple's total smartphone sales is 11 percent lower than the iPhone 7 and iPhone 7 Plus accounted for in the year-ago quarter, but there are several caveats to consider:
At 61%, the three newest iPhone models together represented a somewhat smaller share of total US iPhone sales in the quarter, compared to 72% for the iPhone 7 and 7 Plus a year ago. Yet, comparisons to earlier launches are tricky at best. First, iPhone X wasn’t available for the full quarter. The Apple model pie is further divided, as they now offer eight models, the most ever. And, Apple launched the new phones on a different schedule, announcing three new models at once, but delaying the lauch of the most advanced and expensive one, iPhone X, for five weeks following the launch of iPhone 8 and 8 Plus.
Apple doesn't disclose iPhone sales on a model-by-model basis, so this survey only serves as a rough estimate. However, analysts and investors will be listening for any clues about the sales mix during Apple's next quarterly earnings call on February 1.

Related Roundup: iPhone X
Tag: CIRP
Buyer's Guide: iPhone X (Buy Now)

Discuss this article in our forums

iPhone Was Most Activated Smartphone in United States Last Quarter According to Survey

Apple increased its share of smartphone activations in the fourth quarter of 2017, following the release of the iPhone 8, iPhone 8 Plus, and iPhone X, according to data shared with MacRumors by Consumer Intelligence Research Partners.


iPhones accounted for 39 percent of activations in the United States between October and December, up from 34 percent in the year-ago quarter, based on CIRP's survey of 500 people who activated a new or used smartphone during that period.

Samsung was the runner-up with a 32 percent share of activations during the quarter, trailed by LG at 13 percent. All other smartphone vendors, including Motorola, HTC, and others, accounted for the remaining 16 percent share.


The survey findings are rather unsurprising given a trio of new iPhones launched between late September and early November, while Google's Pixel 2 and LG's V30 were essentially the only major Android smartphones to debut during the quarter.

CIRP co-founder Josh Lowitz:
Apple's iOS increased its mobile operating system share in the US in the most recent quarter. While Android still leads, the launch of the new iPhone 8, 8 Plus, and X models, without similar new Android phones, allowed Apple to increase its share of activations in the quarter, relative last quarter and to the year-ago quarter.
The survey also shows that Apple and Samsung continue to form a smartphone duopoly in the United States, with no sign that'll change any time soon.

Related Roundups: iPhone 8, iPhone X

Discuss this article in our forums

iPhone 8 and 8 Plus Sold ‘More Like an ‘S’ Model’ During Launch Quarter According to New Report

The iPhone 8 and iPhone 8 Plus accounted for 16 percent of total iPhone sales in the July-September 2017 quarter, which means the new smartphones "look much more like an 'S' model" in terms of sales. According to a report sent to MacRumors today by Consumer Intelligence Research Partners, the new devices actually represented a smaller sales percentage than 'S' devices have in past years, particularly in comparison to the iPhone 6s with 24 percent of iPhone sales in 2015.

In terms of each model, the iPhone 8 had 6 percent of iPhone sales and the iPhone 8 Plus had 10 percent in the fiscal quarter ending October 1, 2017. While the smartphones' small share makes sense, because they were only available for about a week (shipping September 22) in the quarter that CIRP analyzed, previous generation iPhones were notably higher at the same points over the past few years.


The iPhone 7 and iPhone 7 Plus accounted for 43 percent of sales during this period in 2016, while the iPhone 6s and iPhone 6s Plus had 24 percent of the iPhone sales in this period two years ago. In 2014, the iPhone 6 and iPhone 6 Plus represented 46 percent of iPhone sales in their launch quarter.
“iPhone 8 and 8 Plus accounted for only 16% of total sales, compared to a 24% share for the iPhone 6S and 6S Plus two years ago," said Josh Lowitz, CIRP Partner and Co-Founder. "While it’s a little early to know, it appears that this even lower share relative to that earlier ‘S’ model probably resulted from some buyers delaying a purchase, we think in anticipation of the new iPhone X.”

So, in terms of consumer demand and reception, the 8 and 8 Plus have a share of total sales that makes them look much more like an ‘S’ model, while the 7 and 7 Plus was closer to the very well-received 6 and 6 Plus. This is not surprising, as the form factor remained the same, and the improvements in features were incremental and internal.”
CIRP co-founder Mike Levin mentioned that Apple's dual-announcement of the iPhone 8 and iPhone X "changed the market dynamic" for 2017, echoing previous sentiments that many users are not ordering the former smartphone because they're waiting for the latter device. The new report is based on a survey of 500 Apple customers who made a purchase between July and September of this year.


In the 2017 quarter, the iPhone 7 and iPhone 7 Plus continued seeing strong demand, with both devices accounting for 58 percent of sales. In total, older models like the iPhone 6s, 6s Plus, and SE represented 25 percent of sales in the quarter. Levin explained that "rather than waiting for and buying the iPhone 8, it looks like buyers in this quarter either bought existing models, or decided to wait for the iPhone X, later in the year."

Related Roundup: iPhone 8
Tag: CIRP
Buyer's Guide: iPhone (Buy Now)

Discuss this article in our forums

Apple Store Remains Most Popular Destination to Purchase a Mac in the United States

Apple Stores continue to be the most popular destination to purchase a new Mac in the United States, according to a recent survey conducted by research firm Consumer Intelligence Research Partners.


Apple's retail locations and online store accounted for roughly 40 percent of Mac sales between October 2016 and September 2017, based on 2,000 survey respondents who purchased a Mac during that period.

When the first Apple Stores opened in 2001, Apple was still known as Apple Computer, and the Mac was its primary product. Nowadays, of course, there is the iPhone, iPad, Apple Watch, Apple TV, and beyond.

"Since Apple designed its stores originally to promote Mac computers, it is not surprising that that they continue to account for roughly 40 percent of Mac sales," said Josh Lowitz, co-founder of Consumer Intelligence Research Partners.

While it's generally unsurprising that Apple is the most popular Mac retailer, given it creates the computers, it is still notable given there are often better deals available from third-party resellers like B&H and MacMall.

By comparison, the survey found only around 20 percent of iPads and 10 percent of iPhones were sold directly by Apple.


"Best Buy actually sells more iPads than Apple," added Lowitz. "And, carrier stores have become a significant retailer of tablets."

In terms of the iPhone, Apple had the lowest share of iPhone sales in the 12 months ending September 2017. Roughly 77 percent of customers made their purchase through a carrier like Verizon or AT&T, according to CIRP.

The research firm said sales can fluctuate based on the timing of product launches and during the back-to-school and holiday shopping seasons.

Related Roundup: Apple Stores
Tag: CIRP

Discuss this article in our forums