Apple dominates the smart personal audio market despite year-over-year decline thanks to AirPods Pro 2
Canalys, a market research company, has released its breakdown of the “smart personal audio market” for Q4 of 2022, and as expected, Apple has dominated the holiday quarter, despite its own shipments and the overall market taking a year-over-year tumble. The report specifically focuses on true wireless stereo shipments, or TWS shipments, for the holiday shopping season of 2022.
According to Canalys, overall TWS market shipments fell to 79.5 million units, a decline of 23%. Wireless earphone shipments fell by 36%, and wireless headphone shipments fell by 25%. Despite this decline, Apple still managed to dominate the industry in Q4 2022, accounting for 32.8% of the overall TWS market with shipments of 91.4 million units, a decrease of 1% compared to shipments in 2021.
The AirPods Pro 2 accounted for 63% of all AirPods shipments in Q4 2022, making them the overall most popular AirPods during the holiday shopping quarter. Moreover, the AirPods Pro 2 drove a 44% shipment increase in the $200-$299 price category. Canalys also notes that AirPods 3 shipments have slowed, citing the “weaker market performance” of the product.
Canalys Analyst Cynthia Chen explains that price band shifting trends were evident in Q4, with the sub-US$100 band taking up 55% market share, compared to 48% a year ago. “The US$200-299 price band saw an increase of shipments driven by Apple’s second-generation AirPods Pro. Apart from the weaker market performance of the third-gen AirPods, the downgrading of consumption happening on a global level contributed to the shrinking of the US$100-199 price band. Smartphone vendors, whose scales are often larger, felt the most significant impact as they saw their market shares shrink.”
It is worth noting that Apple is boosted by Beats, meaning that Apple’s shipment numbers include not only AirPods but also all of the different variations of Beats headphones. The overall market for smart personal audio devices experienced a decline in Q4 2022, but Apple’s AirPods Pro 2 managed to stand out in the TWS segment.