The usage of connected TV in the United States has seen a strong growth, up 10.1% over 2016, according to the latest report from eMarketer.
The market research firm forecast that there will be 168.1 million people in the U.S. using an Internet-connected TV by the end of this year. Among them, smart TV users is the single largest subgroup and makes up half of the connected TV users. The research firm expects a 30.8% growth in the subgroup, to reach 81.2 million users in 2017.
“Essentially, more people are buying smart TVs than previously anticipated, which holds back demand for third-party connectivity devices,” said Paul Verna, the principal video analyst at eMarketer.
Meanwhile, growth in the use of connected-TV devices remains strong. Of all the devices, Roku device will have 38.9 million American users in 2017, up 19.3% from 2016, grabbing a 23.1% market share, according to eMarketer’s estimate.
Roku’s biggest advantage over other major players is that it stays neutral. Not being affiliated with any content or TV device platforms, the company is able to make deals with a wide range of partners and allows users to customize their device with services they want to have, whether it’s Netflix, Hulu, Amazon Prime Video or others.
While Google pushes its Chromecast with Google Play Movies & TV, Amazon promotes its video service with Fire TV. Apple, on the other hand, has a higher-priced Apple TV.
According to eMarketer’s forecast, Google’s Chromecast will become the second biggest player in the market with 36.9 million users by the end of this year. Amazon Fire TV will have 35.8 million users and Apple TV to have 21.3 million.
While Apple has the lead in mobile device market, it won’t enjoy this fortune in the connected TV sector. The market research firm forecast Apple’s further slipping in the coming year, adding less than 4 million users by the end of 2021.
“Apple TV has been held back by the absence of a compelling content offering, a lack of support for increasingly popular Amazon video content and a much higher price bracket than its competitors,” said Verna.
Another research firm Parks Associates has published a report indicating a 57% smart TV penetration rate in Western Europe this year.