The latest estimate of the true wireless in-ear headphones market shows that Apple’s AirPods continue to dominate the market, with a 47% market share across 2019.

Second place was shared by Xiaomi and Samsung, who weren’t even close …

Counterpoint Research said that the Apple’s market share did dip a little in the final quarter, but still left its rivals standing.

The launch of Apple’s new AirPods Pro model in late October helped the company record steady 44% growth in 4Q19, with 6m units sold despite supply shortages. Apple’s market share fell slightly to 41% QoQ as it attempted to keep up with swift overall market growth; market share for the full year reached 47% […]

Xiaomi kept its second-place spot in the quarter supported by strong sales of its Redmi Airdots, followed by Samsung, QCY and JLab. The race for second intensified, with both Xiaomi and Samsung holding around 6% unit market share for the year.

The market as a whole grew significantly in the final quarter of the year.

The global market size for true wireless hearables beat expectations, growing 53% QoQ in 4Q19, topping 51m units for the quarter and 130m units for the full year, according to Counterpoint Research’s latest Hearables Market Tracker. The US was the main driver for the quarter, growing 76% QoQ and accounting for 35% of the global market on the back of seasonal promotions and Apple’s new model launch.

Counterpoint expects AirPods sales to top 100M this year, and says that while Samsung is targeting a distant second place, it may struggle to achieve this.

“We expect Apple to sell more than 100m true wireless hearables in 2020, including AirPods Pros, to maintain their comfortable lead in the market,” said Liz Lee, Senior Analyst at Counterpoint Research. “The real competition will be for second place, especially in the premium market; Samsung, which sold 8m Galaxy Buds last year, will need further upgrades to those expected in the Galaxy Buds Plus, including noise cancellation and other advanced features and designs, in order to beat its rivals.”

There may be a temporary dent in AirPods sales this quarter. Apple was already struggling to meet demand, and production seems near-certain to be hit by the coronavirus outbreak. Other manufacturers will also be hit, however, so the prediction that AirPods continue to dominate sales this year seems safe.

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Ben Lovejoy

Ben Lovejoy is a British technology writer and EU Editor for 9to5Mac. He’s known for his op-eds and diary pieces, exploring his experience of Apple products over time, for a more rounded review. He also writes fiction, with two technothriller novels, a couple of SF shorts and a rom-com!

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