One of the most popular offers this holiday season over at 9to5Toys has been HomePod, discounted as low as $ 250 through dealers like Target and Best Buy. Now Apple comes to HomePod discounts.
Earlier this week, Apple launched a campaign that offers Apple Music subscribers $ 50 from HomePod. Although Apple's agreement does not bring the smart speaker at the same price as other sales have, it's a rare discount on a relatively new Apple device.
Sylvania HomeKit Light Strip
HomePod usually sells for $ 349, so a $ 50 discount from Apple brings it to $ 299. Third party sales of $ 249 represent almost 30 percent discount. Getting 30 percent of a less than years old Apple product is largely unheard of. This raises questions about whether Apple may have overpriced HomePod from the start.
HomePod has competition priced above and below the usual price of $ 349. Google Home Max, for example, sells for $ 399 and is undoubtedly even less common than HomePod. You also have Sonos Play: 5, which has AirPlay 2 connection, for $ 499.
HomePod is not the most expensive smart speaker on the market. In fact, it's just a bit above the median compared to offers from Sonos and Google. But if you look at the smartest speakers that sell the most, Amazon Echo products and Sonos One are cheaper.
If HomePod were to sell for $ 249, it's much easier to sell than $ 349. It's half the price of the high-end Play Series: 5, which provides a comparable sound quality, and It's only $ 50 more than the registered Alexa-enabled Sonos.
It is also important to note that Amazon's Echo line of speakers now supports Apple Music integration. Since HomePod's introduction, its biggest selling point has been the amazing Apple Music integration. Although Amazon's implementation of Apple Music support is not as slim as AirPlay 2 and HomePod support, the differences are not big enough for many people to justify the jump from an Amazon Amazon $ 80 to $ 349 HomePod.
When discounting HomePod – whether it's $ 299 or $ 249 – Apple brings it even down-slightly closer to the Echo products. This is especially true when considering the sound quality that HomePod offers compared to Amazon's Echo products. Echo Plus, for example, is sold regularly for $ 149.99, and is Amazon's "premium sound" product.
$ 249 or $ 299 too good?
Apple generally never cared for its price points compared to competitors, but offering a first-rate $ 50 discount on such a new product is an interesting feature for the company. Apple is obviously in the midst of a huge pressure for its service category, and HomePod plays a key role in that area.
If Apple can sell more HomePods, there are more people connected to Apple Music, Siri, and HomeKit ecosystems. HomePod only supports Apple Music, which means that people who invest in one will not likely leave Apple Music to a competitor since they are locked in.
$ 250 certainly feels like the right price for HomePod. It's more than the most popular Sonos, which makes Apple know the "premium" end of the market, but it's not much more expensive that the $ 199 Sonos One is a simpler sale solely based on the fact that it's cheaper than HomePod. As someone who is often asked about smart speakers and best to buy, HomePod will be a much easier product to recommend at either $ 249 or $ 299. Compared with the competition, HomePod would not be so affected by "sticker shock" if it was at a price of under $ 300.
If Apple insists on keeping HomePod at $ 349, another profitable option for growing HomePod sales is to offer bundle rebates. For example, you can buy two HomePods for $ 600, which would be a $ 100 discount compared to buying them individually. Although this does not improve HomePod's price relative to competitors, it may entice more people to buy more HomePods.
Of course, one of the biggest things Apple could do to help justify HomePod's $ 349 price is to improve the product. In addition to being more difficult to sell due to its price, HomePod's support for Siri also adds to Alexa-enabled devices.
What do you think? Does Apple overprice HomePod from the start? Should $ 249 or $ 299 be its normal price? Let us know what you think about in the comments.
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