Amazon’s Fire TV and Apple TV are gaining on Roku in U.S. sales share, but Roku is holding on to its top spot even as a raging Amazon Fire flares up to tie Google’s Chromecast for second place, a Parks Associates survey found.
Among U.S. broadband households that purchased a streaming-media player in 2015, Parks said:
--30 percent purchased a Roku (down from 2014’s 34 percent);
--22 percent purchased a Google Chromecast (down from 2014’s 23 percent);
--22 percent purchased an Amazon Fire (up from 16 percent); and
--20 percent purchased an Apple TV (up from 13 percent).
In its consumer survey, Parks also found that 36 percent of U.S. broadband households own at least one streaming media player, up from the year-ago 27 percent. Only four brands – Roku, Amazon, Google and Apple -- account for 94 percent of the streaming media players purchased in 2015, up from 86 percent, the company added.
“Device makers have successfully sold streaming media players to consumers by offering easy access to a variety of content streams as well as frequent updates that add the latest innovation,” said research director Barbara Kraus.
With the growth, Amazon moved into a virtual tie with Google for second place in sales with 22 percent of sales, Parks found. “Amazon in particular has benefited by promoting its Fire TV devices in conjunction with the company’s Prime Video service as well as streams from HBO, Showtime, and other premium offerings,” Kraus explained.
Although Apple TV remained in fourth place, it enjoyed the largest increase in year-over-year unit sales, primarily because of the long-awaited new version launched in the fourth quarter of last year, Kraus said.
Sticks: In other findings, Parks said HDMI sticks accounted for 50 percent of streaming-media player sales in 2015. Roku and Amazon offer both sticks and settop boxes, and about a third of Roku sales were sticks. About 75 percent of Amazon’s player sales were sticks, Parks found.
The four major players could soon see expanded competition, Parks noted, because of Rovi’s acquisition of DVR maker TiVo. The acquisition brings together “two sizable entertainment-tech companies with strong streaming technologies and expertise,” Parks said.