Research Firm Claims Apple TV Has Fallen to Fourth Place in U.S. Sales

Parks Associates:

A new Parks Associates report on streaming media devices reports four brands — Amazon, Apple, Google, and Roku — accounted for 86% of all units sold to U.S. broadband households in 2014. […]

“Roku continues to lead streaming media device sales in the U.S. with 34% of units sold in 2014. Google is second with 23%, and new entrant Amazon overtook Apple for third place,” said Barbara Kraus, Director of Research, Parks Associates.

I’m curious how they assembled these numbers, given that Apple doesn’t reveal sales numbers for Apple TV, and Amazon doesn’t reveal sales numbers for any of its products. (I presume they conduct a survey, which, like political polling, can be pretty accurate.) But there’s a truthy ring to the basic gist of their story: Apple TV is slipping.

The stakes are very high for Apple with next month’s new Apple TV. In some ways, I’d argue they’re under more pressure than they were for Apple Watch. Apple Watch’s biggest competition is the idea of wearing a watch at all. It doesn’t really compete against other smart watches. If you own an iPhone and want a connected digital watch, Apple Watch is it. If you don’t own an iPhone, you can’t use an Apple Watch.

With TV it’s different. There are serious competitors already ahead of Apple in market share, and their products are generally well reviewed. There are some tie-ins between iPhone and Apple TV — we all presume Apple Music, for example, will be available on the new system. But it’s not like the watch, where they’re tied together. iPhone owners can (and do) easily use Roku or Chromecast or Amazon Fire TV. Apple TV has to win on merit.

Friday, 21 August 2015