The Google Chromecast, Google's ($GOOG) diminutive streaming device, has failed to move as many units as Amazon's ($AMZN) similar Fire TV Stick. Despite its cheaper price and longer time on market, the Chromecast has never ranked higher than Amazon's Fire Stick.
That is until this summer.
Best Buy ($BBY) sales rank data collected for the units shows that in April 2018, the Chromecast surpassed the Fire TV Stick in sales rank for the first time. After settling back down to the mid-50s in terms of sales rank, the Chromecast is surging again. As of today, the Chromecast is the 7th best-selling device at Best Buy while the Fire Stick is at 15.
This is particularly significant because Amazon's Fire TV Stick has consistently outsold the Chromecast since it hit Best Buy shelves in October 2016. The Fire TV Stick has averaged a sales rank of $33.38 since its release. Meanwhile, the Chromecast has managed an average rank of $44.35 — a significant difference when it directly correlates to building customer bases for Amazon's and Google's video audiences, respectively.
Pricing may be a factor here. Despite the fact that the Chromecast is cheaper, its sales spikes have occured when the unit is discounted. In fact, the current sales spike corresponds to a price drop for the Chromecast to just $25. Meanwhile, the Fire TV Stick is at its retail price of $39.
Since it's been for sale at Best Buy, the Chromecast has averaged a price of $33.76. Compared to the Fire TV Stick's average price of $39.11, it's tough to point to price alone as the reason for the Fire Stick's sales dominance.
It does, however, illuminate the fact that Amazon hasn't had to discount its product in order to move sales, while, as you can see in the chart, prices for the Chromecast have varied much more over time as Google and Best Buy attempt to move more inventory.
The other — and more likely — factor at play here is content. The Fire TV Stick gives users access to Amazon Prime Instant Video, which includes a vast library of movies, TV shows, and Amazon originals. The Chromecast, on the other hand, does not support Amazon Prime Instant Video. Meanwhile, Google's original content offerings via Google Play and YouTube haven't compared well — as of yet — to those of Amazon Prime or Netflix.