Here's how Sonos compares to Bose when it comes to social media and company culture

2 months ago by Joshua Fruhlinger in Facts, Features

Today, wireless speaker pioneer Sonos ($SONOS) is going public in an IPO initially valued around $1.5 billion.

If you've been in the market for a sound system in the past 16 years since Sonos has been around, you are likely aware of their products. They were one of the first to bring wireless speakers that can talk to your other devices — some call them smart speakers, at least when paired with a digital assistant as in the case of an Amazon Echo or Apple HomePod — and they changed the market.

What was once a confusing, wiry mess, setting up a home sound system became a more elegant, wireless affair once Sonos put its speakers on the market.

Audiophiles may scoff at Sonos' sound quality, but their ascent in the market — and today's IPO — show that there's a clear appetite for this kind of technology.

Sonos has many competitors these days, especially now that everyone from Amazon, to Google, to Apple, to Samsung have gotten into the wireless multi-room speaker market. Even traditional speaker companies like JBL and Klipsch have entered the fray.

But when it comes to true competitors, there is really one company to which one should compare Sonos. That's Bose ($BOSE), the company that did something similar to Sonos: it brought attractive, easy-to-use sound systems to the masses. Bose has also entered the wireless multi-room speaker market, and clearly has its sights set on Sonos when it's not selling millions of noise canceling headsets to the business travelers of the world.

With that, here's how the two companies compare.

Facebook

When it comes to followers on Facebook, Bose eclipses Sonos. For its US presence alone, Bose has picked up 4 million followers. Sonos, so far, has yet to break the million-follower threshold with just 739,000 followers as of today. Bose has Facebook presences for its international divisions, all of which have around 3-4 million followers each.

Plotting the two companies' Facebook presence on the same graph shows the large lead Bose currently enjoys.

Twitter

On Twitter, the two companies are a lot more similar. Sonos claims 145,000 Twitter followers — not too far off from Bose's 196,000. That said, much like its Facebook strategy, Bose utilizes dozens of Twitter accounts to spread its social presence, with accounts for various geographical regions. Sonos has a Twitter account for its customer support division, called @SonosSupport, which has around 31,000 followers.

When plotted on the same graph, it becomes clear that Sonos still trails Bose on Twitter.

Glassdoor

Glassdoor ratings — anonymous workplace reviews placed by employees on Glassdoor.com — can be a good indicator of internal company culture. After all, happy employees are motivated to improve the companies they work for.

Currently, Sonos gets a 3.9 out of 5 when it comes to overall employee ratings of the company as a place to work. Bose trails a bit with a 3.6 out of 5.

Sonos employees — at least those who placed reviews on Glassdoor — love their CEO. Patrick Spence has been CEO of Sonos since January 2017. Meanwhile, Bose CEO Philip Hess garners a less-impressive rating of 78%. He took the reigns of the company this winter after previous CEO Bob Maresca stepped down at the end of 2017.

Business Outlook ratings from employees at both companies are a bit of a curiosity. Despite the popularity of the two companies' products (not to mention the Sonos IPO), employees appear somewhat lukewarm when it comes to their opinions of company prospects. In the case of Sonos, the current Glassdoor "business outlook" rating sits as a ho-hum 57%. Meanwhile, the same rating at Bose is a humdrum 42%.

It's possible that employees know something the rest of us don't about the future of wireless multi-room speakers, or with anything Glassdoor-related, it's possible there's some survey bias going on. Either way, it's a fascinating — and surprising — number given market conditions.

Distribution Network

Sonos — regardless of how the IPO goes — is well-positioned when it comes to retail distribution. We currently track 9,658 retail outlets in 82 countries for Sonos. That's a massive number of places for people to get their hands on some new gear. With that, here's what Sonos' current distribution network looks like on the world map.

Bose opened its first store in 1983 in Maine. It now has 190 showcase stores throughout the world. Meanwhile, Bose products are sold in thousands of stores throughout the world, including Best Buy, Amazon, and even airports.

Joshua Fruhlinger

Joshua has been writing about technology, lifestyle, and business for over 20 years. He's one of the original writers and editors for Engadget, and still writes a...

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