Sales of Apple AirPods this year may increase by a third. But the company’s dominance in the wireless headphone market is at stake.
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AirPods define the category of real wireless headphones (TWS). According to Counterpoint Research, in 2019, sales of Apple AirPods accounted for almost half of sales in the wireless headset market. And it is expected to increase to 82 million units this year. However, more affordable alternatives launched by Chinese competitors are increasingly threatening Apple’s leadership. Today, Apple AirPods has a market share of just over a third, reaching 35%. Xiaomi is far behind (10%) and Samsung Electronics is in third place (6%).
More and more professional brands are entering this market. For example, there is the $ 90 Lypertek Tevi cordless handset, which is nicer in price and better than AirPods in comfort and sound quality. The $ 180 1MORE True Wireless ANC also has better noise reduction performance than the AirPods Pro. As a reminder, the latter costs $ 250. The recently released Samsung Galaxy Buds Live also has a noise reduction feature. A pod-shaped design is also more sophisticated and costs only $ 170. Samsung said that a few weeks before the product was released, 300,000 pairs were shipped. But some of them were actually paired with the flagship Galaxy Note 20.
For Android smartphone users, they may not enjoy many of the benefits of AirPods associated with the iPhone. This results in price and functionality becoming the main items for these users when shopping.
Difficulties faced by Apple AirPods
Counterpoint analysts said: “The low to mid-range category, which includes Chinese brands and US manufacturers such as JLab, is taking away a share of 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 the positive comments of people about Buds Live and the increased investment of Samsung is expected to reduce the gap between the two. “We believe that Samsung can attract more users, especially Android phone users, by providing a wider range of mid-range to high-end TWS devices with at least two or three variants.”
Samsung continues to expand the range of headphone products. The market expects sales of the company’s wireless headphones to more than double this year. So it will increase from 8 million to 17 million. Apple’s AirPods range is expected to grow from 61 million to 82 million.