Apple’s got you by your ears…

Apple grabbed our ears when it introduced the iPod in 2001 and white earbuds became a cultural icon.

It still has us by the ears today, with a whopping 80 percent share of the ‘true’ wireless headphone market, according to Futuresource Consulting.

Apple’s stealthy market lead

What Futuresource is saying (according to its latest Worldwide Headphone Market Report, excerpts of which have been provided to me) is that Apple has taken 80 percent of a market segment that has itself grown 178 percent, yoy.

That’s a real result, achieved in part due to the success of Apple’s Beats purchase, and also on strength of the growing popularity of its AirPods.

Here’s some data:

  • Q1 2018 saw true wireless account for 31 percent of all in-ear product revenues in Q1 2018.
  • While average selling prices in this category fell slightly, from $171 to $161 in Q1 2018, Apple AirPods maintained their dominance.
  • That AirPod dominance has forced competitors to introduce lower-priced products at <$150.
  • On a worldwide basis, the overall headphones market totalled 79.1 million units in Q1, with retail revenues topping $4 billion.

Headphone jacks are history

There’s a little more to consider.

First, most of the industry is moving to emulate Apple in getting rid of the headphone jack that was eliminated when iPhone 7 hit the scene.

Apple’s decision to do this may have been promoted by its need to design an all-display smartphone (hello, X), but also reflected a wider consumer move to use wireless headphones.

“Wireless capability had already penetrated 45% of headphones in Q1 and is instrumental in driving further uptake for many other features and form factors, including true wireless, neckbands, noise-cancelling and additional smart features,” writes Futuresource.

Et tu, Samsung

“Brands are enthusiastically adding features, resulting in a 17% rise in the average retail price to $52. Across all categories, the highest price increase is in over-ear products, due to the impact of noise-cancelling and wireless technologies,” commented Rasika D’Souza, Senior Market Analyst at Futuresource Consulting.”

It may also be interesting to note that JBL achieved 100% year-on-year growth, opening another avenue of competition between Apple and JBL owner, Samsung.

Jonny Evans

Watching Apple since 1999. I don't say what they should do. I say what they might do. They sometimes do.

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