NPD Group is reporting that Apple AirPods are selling really well. They are selling so well that AirPods have accounted for 85% of the wireless headphone and earbud category sales thus far in 2017. The research firm estimates that 900,000 wireless headphone units have been sold already in 2017. It is not clear what unit volume share NPD estimates for AirPods, but the steep price is no doubt helping Apple outshine the competition in terms of dollar sales.
Totally wireless earbuds represent a new segment that has come out of the emergence of Bluetooth. Bragi and Doppler Labs were among the first companies making totally wireless earbuds, but the entrance of tech titans like Apple and Samsung (but mostly Apple) has led to a spike in unit sales in the segment…
Some products have a [lofty] goal – making the wireless earbud a computing device for the ear. Since launching in December, Apple’s AirPods have accounted for 85 percent of totally wireless headphone dollar sales in the U.S., according to NPD’s Retail Tracking Service. With a use case centering on frictionless access to Siri and other tasks initiated by voice, AirPods really act as an extension of the iPhone. Apple’s path to leadership in the category is helped by disruptive pricing, brand resonance, and excitement over the W1 chip, which significantly eases Bluetooth connections to iOS and Mac devices.
Bragi and Others Will Compete
Bragi and others will continue to compete with Apple for earbud market share. Siri and Google Assistant integration were already available on Bragi and the company announced Amazon Alexa integration at the annual IFA conference this week in Berlin. However, no other product will have as low level access to Siri and iOS as AirPods. As a result, Apple should maintain dominance on its own platform while competitors may have a similar opportunity on the Android platform.