Despite Surging AirPods Sales, Apple’s Dominance of Wireless Earbuds Market Slipping

Despite AirPods’ dominance, Apple’s grip on the true wireless earphones market is slipping, as Chinese rivals offering cheaper alternatives gain ground.

A new report from Bloomberg says new data from Counterpoint Research shows that AirPods market share in the true wireless in-ear headphone (TWS) market has significantly fallen this year, from almost 50 percent in 2019 to around 35 percent today.

Despite the fall in market share, AirPods sales are looking better than ever — the same data shows that AirPods sales are expected to rise from 61 million units last year to 82 million this year, a rise of more than 33 percent.

The reason behind Apple’s falling marketshare with rising sales is due to a rapidly expanding market. In the past years, the TWS market has grown exponentially, with more and more brands offering similar products at a wide range of price points:

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 […]

A growing contingent of specialized Chinese brands has emerged on the scene, with models such as […] the 1More True Wireless ANC outperforming the $250 AirPods Pro’s noise canceling at $180.

The report further notes that Android users cannot take advantage of many of the AirPods features as well as iPhone users, meaning price and feature sets are more important for many. Counterpoint Analyst Liz Lee told Bloomberg:

The low-to-mid end segment including Chinese brands and U.S. makers such as JLab is taking away share from the premium market 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.

The report expects competition in the sector to increase between Samsung and Apple, with Samsung closing the gap on Apple.