INTX 2016: Roku Still Top Streaming Media Player in U.S.

Roku remained the top-selling streaming media player in 2015, accounting for 30% of the units purchased, according to new data from Parks Associates released in tandem with this week’s INTX confab in Boston.

Amazon, maker of the Fire TV box and Fire TV Stick, represented 22% of sales in 2015 (up from 16% in the prior year) as it rose to the number two slot, putting it in a virtual tie with Google, which makes the popular $35 Chromecast streaming adapter.  

Parks said the Apple TV trailed them with 20% of sales in 2015, but had the largest increase in unit sales on a year-over-year basis thanks to the Q4 2015 launch of its new apps-friendly platform. Apple’s share last year was 50% higher than its 2014 results, the research firm said.

Those four players – Roku, Amazon, Google and Apple – accounted for 94% of the streaming media players purchased last year, up from 86% in 2014.

“Thirty-six percent of U.S. broadband households have at least one streaming media player, up from 27% last year,” Barbara Kraus, director of research at Parks Associates, said in a statement. “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. 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.”

She noted that Roku and Amazon are benefiting from a strategy that centers on multiple form factors – boxes and streaming sticks – adding that streaming sticks accounted for 50% of all unit sales in 2015.

Kraus also estimated that about one-third of Roku sales were streaming sticks, and roughly 75% of Amazon sales were sticks.

“Apple and Roku were essentially tied for selling the most boxes, but Roku is expanding its base with the additional form factor,” Kraus said.

Parks estimates that 36% of U.S. broadband households have at least one streaming media player.

Looking ahead, Parks predicts that 86 million streaming media players will be sold globally in 2019.