Apple sold just 600,000 HomePods in the first quarter of the year, according to box counters Strategy Analytics. The estimates suggest that the company has a market share of just six per cent of the global smart speaker market, which reached 9.2 million units between January and March this year.
Apple's 600,000 sales estimates contrast with the 2.4 million that Google purportedly sold of its Google Home speakers, giving it a market share of 26.5 per cent, and market leader Amazon's four million unit shipments, capturing a market share of 43.6 per cent.
While Amazon's estimated four million sales were double the first quarter of 2017, its market share fell by around half, from 81.8 per cent, as new entrants attracted buyers. In particular, China's Alibaba took third spot with 700,000 sales and Xiaomi fifth with 200,000.
Apple, though, has remained tight-lipped about the precise number of HomePods it sold when the product belatedly saw the light of day on 9 February - its silence has been interpreted as a tacit admission that the HomePod is not selling as well as expected.
Just after the HomePod launch the company claimed that its pre-orders had sold out, with the UK proving a particularly popular market for the company. The Strategy Analytics estimates indicate that demand quickly settled down.
But despite Apple's ho-hummer of a smart speaker launch, which is largely attributed to the high price, lacklustre speech recognition and dustbin-like aesthetics, Strategy Analytics vice president David Mercer suggested that the strong growth in the market over the past year "confirms our view that this new market is far more than just a flash in the pan".
He continued: "Today's smart speakers are by no means the finished article, but they have captured the consumer imagination and we will see rapid evolution in design, functionality and associated use cases over the coming years.
"We are clearly heading towards to a time in the not too distant future when voice becomes a standard mode of technology interaction alongside established approaches like keyboard, mouse and touchscreen."
Apple's HomePod also doesn't offer Bluetooth streaming and effectively tries to lock-in users to Apple's eco-system by, for example, pretty much requiring an Apple Music subscription if you want to listen to some tunes - which a bit of cheek given that it costs £319.
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