AirPods market share fell from 41% to 29% in the course of nine months, according to the latest Counterpoint data, but Apple remains well ahead of its nearest competitor, and most other big names remain in the 2-5% range.
The fall in market share reflects increased competition in the market for True Wireless Stereo (TWS) headphonesâ€¦
In the fourth quarter of 2019, Counterpoint put Appleâ€™s market share at 41% by unit sales â€“ though it did note that the company took home 62% of the revenue. By the third quarter of 2020, that had fallen to 29%. That doesnâ€™t reflect any fall in AirPods sales, but rather growing competition, especially at the lower end of the market. It expects overall annual growth to hit 83%.
There is big potential in budget, and weâ€™re already seeing the impact in hearables. In 3Q 2020, half of the top 10 were budget brands with sub-$50 and even sub-$20 offerings; Xiaomi best illustrated the trend as it consolidated its number two spot.
The firm says that the growing trend toward removing headphone sockets from smartphones has of course played a large role in boosting overall demand.
â€˜The trend around removing jacks and earphones from devices and boxes is becoming a big driver for TWS segment growth,â€™ says Counterpoint Research senior analyst Liz Lee. â€˜It also helps that mobile media consumption continues to grow, making TWS the next must-have accessory.â€™
Counterpoint reports that Appleâ€™s 29% share is more than twice that of its nearest competitor, Xiaomi, while third-placed Samsung has just 5%.
Appleâ€™s powerful iOS ecosystem, typically comprised of consumers with larger disposable incomes, has been the main driver for growth â€“ especially in terms of revenues.
Weâ€™re expecting Apple to update the design of the standard AirPods model to match that of AirPods Pro, but with ANC remaining a differentiating factor. Antitrust pressure forced Apple to allow third-party companies to integrate with the Find My app, Belkin taking advantage of that fact for its SoundForm Freedom competitor to Appleâ€™s AirPods.
Apple will not be remotely concerned about AirPods market share, as it is only interested in the mid-range to premium demographic.
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