Although true wireless earphones existed before Apple got into the space with the AirPods in late 2016, the company's popular audio product series has allowed it to quickly take control of the segment globally, with Apple commanding a market share of 45 percent in Q3 2019, according to a new report by Counterpoint Research. However, tough competition has seen its share drop from 53 percent in the previous quarter, even as the segment itself has grown thanks to strong competition and products from new players.
The Counterpoint Research report states that the true wireless earphones segment reached 33 million units in Q3 2019, a 22 percent quarter-on-quarter growth from Q2. The United States alone accounts for 31 percent of the global market, with Apple leading the segment. Although Apple remains in the lead, its market share has dropped in this quarter in the face of fierce competition from other brands, including Xiaomi, Samsung, JBL, and Skullcandy.
Although Apple commands 45 percent of the segment by volume, its share of the revenue in the segment is significantly higher, because of the higher cost of the AirPods range. Apple launched the AirPods (2nd Gen) earlier this year, and then followed up with the AirPods Pro in October. The AirPods Pro headset is priced at Rs. 24,900 in India, significantly higher than its $249 price in the US.
Xiaomi has quickly gained market share in the segment, thanks to the launch of its Redmi AirDots earlier this year. Other key players in the space include Samsung, JBL, Skullcandy, and Apple's own subsidiary brand Beats. Amazon and Microsoft recently also entered the space with the Echo Buds and Surface Earbuds respectively.