Analyst Says Apple May Only Sell 2 Million HomePods in 2018
More bad new for Apple on the HomePod front. 9to5 Mac is reporting that KGI analyst Ming-Chi Kuo says Apple is likely to ship only 2-2.5 million HomePods in 2018. This is the same analyst that forecast in August 2017 that Apple would sell 12 million units this year. The fear at that time was that demand would significantly outstrip supply. That was, of course, before Apple delayed shipment to miss the 2017 holiday shopping season altogether and started to receive some lackluster reviews. This was also before Bloomberg reported last week that “inventory is piling up” and Apple stores appeared to be selling fewer than 10 units per store per day. 9to5 Mac says look to Siri’s improvement to gauge HomePod’s future prospects.
“KGI says for most customers Siri is not a must-have and investors should look towards future software announcements and hopes Apple will deliver significant improvements to its voice AI offerings.”
Below the Low End of Forecasts
Two million units is below even the lowest forecast Voicebot has reviewed. That figure was offered by Strategy Analytics earlier this quarter and estimated HomePod sales will come in around 3.8 million units. David Watkins made this prediction prior to HomePod’s launch date and was much lower than the 7-12 million unit sales other analysts were forecasting at the time. Watkins clarified in an email interview with Voicebot the three key reasons for making his prediction at the time:
- There is a lot of competition in the smart speaker segment
- HomePod is not supporting streaming music other than Apple Music
- Many iPhone owners and Apple Music subscribers already own an Amazon Echo or Google Home device
The new estimates are driven by actual consumer demand and speculation that Apple has cut orders to its manufacturing partners. This news suggests that the hiring of John Giannandrea away from Google may be in response to less hearty HomePod demand than expected even by Apple.
Will We See a Lower Priced HomePod?
The $349 HomePod price is seen by many as a key contributing factor to the product’s sales troubles. Amazon Echo units sales accelerated after it introduced the sub-$50 Echo Dot. The same scenario played out a year later for Google when it introduced the Google Home Mini. Reports began surfacing in early March that Apple was considering it’s own lower priced product, but that it might still be close to $200. That could definitely help in unit volume sales for the year if the company can bring it to market. However, as KGI and Strategy Analytics suggest, price may only be one factor suppressing demand. Siri’s limitations and HomePod’s lack of feature parity may be the bigger issue.