Apple AirPods and Totally Wireless Bluetooth Headset Sales Soaring

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Rapidly Falling Prices Drive Unprecedented Growth for Totally Wireless Bluetooth Headsets

Strategy Analytics in a newly published report from the Device Technologies (EDT) team, forecasts Apple AirPods sales of nearly 60 million in 2019. As a category, Totally Wireless (TWS) Bluetooth headset sales grew by 200% in 2019. The report, Global Bluetooth Headset Sales and Revenue Forecasts 2001 to 2024 shows that Apple will capture a dominant share in the TWS segment that it created with the introduction of the first AirPods.

“Apple’s AirPods are the dominant Bluetooth headset in terms of sales volumes and revenues in the TWS segment,” comments Ken Hyers, Director at Strategy Analytics. “Even as other vendors enter the TWS segment, Apple will remain the dominant vendor in the category through the middle of the next decade.”

Totally Wireless (TWS) headsets are Bluetooth stereo headsets that do not have a wire connecting the two earpieces. Apple’s AirPods are the best-selling example of TWS Bluetooth headsets, a category created by Apple with the first AirPods introduced in 2016.

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“Apple held a commanding lead in the TWS segment this year,” comments Ville-Petteri Ukonaho, Associate Director at Strategy Analytics. “Apple took over 50% share in the TWS category in 2019, while its next two closest competitors, Samsung and Xiaomi, each held less than 10%.

“Apple’s lead isn’t surprising since it created the category,” continued Mr. Ukonaho, “but it’s unlikely that any single vendor will replace Apple at the top in terms of volume or revenue in TWS Bluetooth headphones in the foreseeable future.”

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“The market for TWS Bluetooth headphones is wide open,” says Ken Hyers. “Prices for TWS chipsets are in freefall. In the last six months prices for them have halved, opening the door for tens, if not hundreds, of new vendors offering inexpensive TWS Bluetooth headphones. With falling prices has come a surge in sales volumes of lower-end versions of TWS Bluetooth headphones. Consumers unable to afford premium TWS Bluetooth headsets from Apple, Bose, Samsung and others now have plenty of less expensive ones to choose from.”

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Revenues of TWS headsets grew over 200% and Apple took 71% of those in 2019. Wholesale revenues will grow past US$100 Billion by 2024. “TWS is fast becoming a new revenue stream for many smartphone vendors,” says Mr. Ukonaho and continues, “Apple will see its non-iPhone revenues soaring with the help of Beats and AirPods in 2019 and in the future.”

“Apple is the undisputed leader in the Truly Wireless Bluetooth Headphone segment,” continues Ville-Petteri Ukonaho, “and while it will remain the leader in the category, there is ample opportunity for others to carve out their own portions of the segment.”

The report Global Bluetooth Headset Sales and Revenue Forecasts 2001 to 2024 is available to Strategy Analytics clients of our Emerging Device Technologies research service.

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