The worldwide market size for true wireless smart earbuds (hearables) beat expectations, growing more than 50% in the fourth quarter of 2019 — now more than 50 million units a quarter — according to Counterpoint Research’s latest Hearables Market Tracker. Apple is projected to dominate true wireless hearables market in 2020. The U.S market was the main driver for the quarter, growing more than 75% QoQ and accounting for more than 30% of the global market on the back of seasonal promotions and Apple’s new model launch.
The launch of Apple’s new AirPods Pro model in late October helped the company record steady 44% growth in 4Q19, despite supply shortages. Apple’s market share fell slightly but still had more than 40% share (see Exhibit 1). It attempted to keep up with swift overall market growth; market share for the full year reached close to 50%.
Exhibit 1: True Wireless Hearables Market Share by Brand – 4Q19
The US$100-and-above segment saw Apple, Samsung and Jabra accounting for more than 80% of 4Q19 sales (see Exhibit 2), as demand surged in developed countries to see overall quarterly growth of 66%. The sub-US$100 band, driven mainly by US and Chinese brands, was more fragmented, with the top three accounting for only a third of the overall pie.
Exhibit 2: True Wireless Hearables Brand Share by Price Band – 4Q19
MacDailyNews Take: Apple totally dominates hearables. Also, don’t forget that Apple owns Beats, too – so, there’s even more dominance than meets the eye at first glance!
Liz Lee, Senior Analyst at Counterpoint Research, further states, “We expect Apple to sell more than 100 million true wireless hearables in 2020, including AirPods Pros, to maintain their comfortable lead in the market.”