Apple is losing grip of the wireless earphone market, a market that it had dominated for the past years, as Bloomberg reports citing Counterpoint Research:
The AirPods have come to define the true wireless (TWS) earphones category, with Apple accounting for nearly half of all sales in 2019 and expected to grow to 82 million units this year, according to Counterpoint Research data. More affordable alternatives from Chinese rivals, however, have eroded Apple’s lead and the Silicon Valley company now finds itself with just over a third of the market, at 35%, followed by Xiaomi Corp. with 10% and Samsung Electronics Co. on 6%, according to the researchers.
Competing devices in China have resulted in Apple’s slow drop in market share. Mainly, Lyperek Tevi, a $90 alternative to the AirPods not only offers better quality but is cheaper. Other options such as the 1More True Wireless ANC earphones arguably outperform active noise cancellation on the AirPods Pro for only $180 vs. Apple’s $250 price tag.
Apple is still expected to see AirPods sales from 61 million to 82 million this year. Samsung, as it expands its earphone line with the launch of the Galaxy Bean is expecting sales to jump to 17 million, vs. the current 8 million.
While other options may be cheaper and offer debatable better sound quality, Apple’s AirPods are still a cultural hit. The iconic earphone has become a status symbol, and for good reasons. AirPods easy set-up process and seamless integration with iCloud across user devices make it easy to switch between devices (coming this fall) and features such as ANC (active noise cancelation) have become a hit.