Apple AirPods sales this year may increase by one-third. But the company’s dominance in the wireless headset market is at stake.
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AirPods defines the category of true wireless headphones (TWS). According to data from Counterpoint Research, in 2019, Apple’s AirPods sales accounted for nearly half of the wireless headset market sales. And it is expected to grow to 82 million units this year. However, more affordable alternatives launched by Chinese competitors are increasingly threatening Apple’s leading position. Today, Apple’s AirPods’ market share barely exceeds one-third, reaching 35%; Xiaomi follows closely behind (10%), and Samsung Electronics ranks third (6%).
More and more professional brands are joining this market. Say, there is the $90 Lypertek Tevi wireless headset, which is more beautiful in price and better than AirPods in comfort and sound quality. The 1MORE True Wireless ANC, priced at $180, also has better noise reduction performance than AirPods Pro. As a reminder, the latter costs $250. Samsung’s newly released Galaxy Buds Live also has a noise reduction function. A pod-shaped design is also more refined, and the price is only $170. Samsung said that a few weeks before the launch of the product, 300,000 pairs were shipped. But some of them were actually bundled with the Galaxy Note 20 flagship phone.
For Android smartphone users, they cannot enjoy many of the advantages of AirPods related to the iPhone. This results in price and functionality becoming the main considerations for these users when purchasing.
Difficulties Met By Apple AirPods
Counterpoint analysts said: ‘The low-to-mid end segment including Chinese brands and U.S. makers such as JLab is taking away share from the premium market.’
The analyst added that in the second half of the year, the competition between Samsung and Apple may become more intense. This will be mainly related to people’s positive comments on Buds Live and Samsung’s increased investment are expected to narrow the gap between the two. ‘We believe that Samsung can attract more users, especially Android phone users, if it provides a wider selection of TWS devices from mid to high-end with at least two or three variations.’
Samsung continues to expand its headset product line. The market expects that the company’s wireless headset sales will more than double this year. So it will grow from 8 million to 17 million. Apple’s AirPods series is expected to grow from 61 million to 82 million.