Google’s bargain-priced Chromecast streaming dongle gained significant market share in 2015, but remained second to the Apple TV in terms of total units shipped, as the global market for Connected TV devices -- including Smart TVs, Blu-ray players, game consoles and digital media streamers – topped 220 million units for the year after a massive fourth quarter that saw 84 million units ship.
Demand for dedicated streaming media boxes and dongles was up 32% to a record level in 2015, dominated by Chromecast, Apple TV, Amazon Fire and Roku, which make up 8 of 10 units shipped, according to the Global Connected TV Device Vendor Market Share: Q4 2015 Report from Strategy Analytics.
All of the top devices feature easy connectability, wide access to content and ease of use through streamlined user interfaces.
Apple still retains the title of “most distributed streaming device,” with more than 37 million units shipped since it was introduced in 2007. But the $149 price tag for the entry level 4th generation 32GB unit (the 64GB unit sells for $199), and the lack of a rumored virtual MSO from Apple has hobbled sales of the unit somewhat.
No such hurdles for Chromecast. Google’s low cost ($35) dongle is a very popular first step for nascent online video streamers looking to get multiple TVs connected on the cheap. In the past 30 months, more than 27 million of the colorful units have shipped globally, giving it the biggest share of the market for the past two years; in 2015, it was 35% of the market.
Google’s dongle “continues to have broad appeal with consumers who favor its mobile-centric approach to content access and control,” said David Watkins, Director, Connected Home Devices service, adding that the low price of the device made it an “impulse purchase” for many consumers.
Roku’s Box and Streaming Stick, meanwhile, have some 20 million total units in the market with Amazon’s Fire TV just under 10 million.
Smart TVs, meanwhile, accounted for 54% of all connected TV device shipments in 2015 reaching 120 million units. Samsung, LG and Sony have a combined 50% share of the Smart TV market although Chinese brands TCL and Hisense enjoyed the strongest annual shipment growth as they continue to expand beyond their domestic market.
U.S. households, meanwhile, own an average of 2.3 streaming devices, often multiple brands used for different reasons.
“While some consumers will have a favored method (of accessing content online), we find that most households are switching between different devices depending on the user and type of content being consumed,” said Chirag Upadhyay, Senior Research Analyst, Connected Home Devices service.
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