The size of the global market for true wireless hearables reached 17.5 million units in Q1 2019, growing 40% quarter-on-quarter (QoQ), according to Counterpoint's latest report on Hearables. 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. 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.
Samsung expanded its market share and ranked the second for the first time by aggressively promoting its new and enhanced model, Galaxy Buds. Though unlike Apple, Samsung "aggressive promotions" includes giving their buds away for free with a new Galaxy phone. Unfortunately Counterpoint unfairly counts freebie buds (just one example) in their statistics. Apple's statistics reflect real sales with no freebies.
While Liz Lee, Senior Analyst at Counterpoint Research questioned whether Apple's AirPods had staying power going forward due to new competitors coming on line in Q4, Lee failed to mention that Apple's acquired Beats with their new Powerbeats Pro are receiving rave reviews from Pocket-lint, T3, Techradar and The Verge. The new Powerbeats Pro won't be given away and may have what it takes to knock Samsung down a notch.
Contrary to Counterpoint's every move to take jabs at Apple while praising Samsung and not mentioning the many "freebie buds" Samsung gives away in promotions, Apple simply crushed all of their competitors combined. That's the story for Q1 2019, end of story.
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