AirPods and Beats dominated headphones market despite decrease in shipment by a third in Q3 of 2021

According to a new report from Canalys, shipments for Apple’s true wireless earbuds including AirPods and Beats fell by 33.7% in Q3 of 2021, compared to the same time last year. However, the tech giant still maintained a dominant market share of 25% of shipments in the quarter.

AirPods Pro

Q3 AirPods and Beats shipments were down by 33.7%

As reported by Canalys, the True Wireless Stereo (TWS) category did not see significant growth, up by just 1.3% from last year. 

Globally, the TWS category barely grew, up by just 1.3% to reach 72.2 million units. This was insufficient to offset the decline of wireless headphones and wireless earphones, which decreased by 4.7% and 4.9%, respectively.

Apple maintained its leading global position in TWS, shipping 17.8 million units, but its shipments declined by nearly a third compared with a year ago, due to a significant drop in demand as consumers waited for the third-generation devices.

Figures reveal Apple’s Q3 shipments for this year were 17.8 million, down from 26.8 million in the same quarter last year, signaling a drop of 33%. Despite the one-third decrease in shipments, Apple still maintained a dominant market share of 25% in the market, ahead of Samsung (12%) in second place.

AirPods 3

The report did not offer much in terms of why Apple’s TWS shipments may have fallen so much. However, keeping in mind the recent release of the long-awaited AirPods 3, a lot of people are likely to purchase them over the holiday period. The reason for the decrease may have been that many customers held off on purchasing new earbuds since they were waiting for the third-gen AirPods to drop.

The report did say that the market has been disrupted by more aggressive pricing, and manufacturers of cheap or mid-range TWS headphones are seeing dramatic growth. The report also says the market overall is expected to return to “robust growth” in Q4 in time for the holiday season, with the release of Apple’s new AirPods.

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About the Author

Asma is an editor at iThinkDifferent with a strong focus on social media, Apple news, streaming services, guides, mobile gaming, app reviews, and more. When not blogging, Asma loves to play with her cat, draw, and binge on Netflix shows.

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