Apple AirPods are still dominating the wireless headphone market but other competitors are starting to creep up, according to a new report.
Counterpoint Research reports that AirPods made up nearly 75 percent of true wireless headphone sales throughout 2018. The research firm estimates that Apple shipped about 35 million units in the year.
In addition to dominating the market segment, AirPods also ranked as the most preferred so-called “hearables” in a large-scale Counterpoint Research consumer study.
On the other hand, consumer preference for AirPods may not be as high as you were expecting based on these metrics. According to Counterpoint, consumer preference broke down like this:
- Apple: 19%
- Sony: 17%
- Samsung: 16%
- Bose: 10%
- Beats: 6%
- Sennheiser: 5%
- LG: 4%
- Jabra: 2%
The research firm noted that the “ease of use, comfort & fit, and portability” were the key reasons why consumers opted for AirPods over competitors. Sound quality, on the other hand, was not.
Only 41 percent of consumers said that sound quality was a key reason why they chose AirPods. Bose led in this sector, with 71 percent of respondents saying that Bose was the preferred brand when it came to top-notch audio.
The research firm also estimates that the wider true wireless hearables market is expected to grow to 129 million units by 2020. Partly, that will be due to the increasing support of digital assistants, with options like Siri, Google Assistant, and Alexa likely to boost the market in 2019, Counterpoint forecasted.
Counterpoint Research notes that the highly anticipated second-generation of AirPods is also likely to drive the market this year.
Still, AirPods are leading the pack when it comes to the wireless headphone category. That bodes well for Apple amidst declining iPhone sales and an increase in the “hearables” market overall.
For Apple, AirPods have become one of the company’s standout critical and consumer success stories since their debut.
In Q1 2019, the Cupertino tech giant reported that its Wearables, Home, and Accessories category (which includes AirPods) expanded 33 percent year-over-year. The entire category brought in $7.31 billion in Q1 2019, nearly as much as the entire Mac lineup did.