The size of the global market for true wireless hearables reached 17.5 million units in quarter one (Q1) of 2019, growing 40% quarter-on-quarter (QoQ), according to the findings of Counterpoint Research’s Hearables Market Tracker. While all regions continued to grow, North America and Europe were the fastest growing regions.
Apple’s market share remained at the same level seen in the last quarter, failing to grow in spite of the launch of its second generation AirPods. Still, it dominates the market, as the graph shows. While sales of the first generation AirPods were higher than expected thanks to a variety of sales promotions for stock-outs in the channel in Q1 2019, sales of the new model were weaker than initially expected due to the market’s mixed response, says Counterpoint.
“It remains uncertain if Apple’s market share could stay at the present level with the current product portfolio in the coming quarters. Samsung is trying to strengthen its dominance with Galaxy Buds, propelled by bundling with Galaxy S10 series,” says Liz Lee, senior analyst, Counterpoint. “The recent performance of QCY and Soundcore, who are also expanding their global presence, is noteworthy. Above all, Google, Amazon, and Microsoft are expected to release true wireless earbuds in the second half of this year. The market is getting more dynamic and energetic.”
Samsung significantly expanded its market share and ranked the second for the first time by aggressively promoting its new and enhanced model, Galaxy Buds. It is expected to maintain this momentum for a while thanks to the market’s positive response as well as the effect of bundling with Galaxy S10 series, according to Counterpoint.
While premium models, around US$150 and above, ranked high in the best-sellers list, QCY T1 and JLAB JBuds Air were strong in the low-to-mid-tier segment. New rising stars, Soundcore Liberty Air and Tzumi Sound Mates also began to show a solid performance, notes Counterpoint.