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Apple’s AirPods already dominate the wireless headphone market


Ever since Apple released its AirPods last December, the company’s advanced wireless earbuds have been somewhat hard to come by. Even as recently as April, orders for new AirPods were subject to a shipping delay of six weeks. Since then, Apple has managed to get a better handle on supply, with the estimated shipping time for orders placed today now falling in the 2-3 week range.

Availability aside, Apple’s AirPods appear to be a rousing success. Thanks to an intuitive setup process, quality audio, and a seamless pairing process, both consumers and reviewers have had no shortage of good things to say about Apple’s most advanced earbuds. According to one user study from May, for example, Apple’s AirPods enjoy an impressive 98% satisfaction rate.

What’s more, Apple’s AirPods have also managed to dominate the completely wireless headphone market, an impressive feat for a product that has only been around for about 9 months. According to recent research data from The NPD Group, 900,000 completely wireless headphone units have been sold in the U.S. since the start of the year. And while the research data doesn’t delineate what the market share breakdown looks like for companies like Apple, Sony and Bose, the data does reveal that 85% of all the money spent on completely wireless headphones are spent on AirPods. Now to be clear, the completely wireless headphone market exclusively refers to headphones consisting of two individual earbuds without a connecting wire.

NPD’s research note reads in part:

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.

Apple has yet to release any specific AirPods sales figures, but from all angles, it appears that the product is performing impressively well.

Yoni Heisler has been writing about Apple and the tech industry at large for over 15 years. A life long Mac user and Apple expert, his writing has appeared in Edible Apple, Network World, MacLife, Macworld UK, and TUAW. When not analyzing the latest happenings with Apple, Yoni enjoys catching Improv shows in Chicago, playing soccer, and cultivating new TV show addictions.