Apple got at least one thing right: AirPods were the most popular true-wireless earbuds in 2018
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Apple's first-generation AirPods took the crown in their specific market in the fourth quarter of 2018 (4Q2018). This is the main result included in a new report by Counterpoint Research. It also indicated that the next most successful products in this category were in the same approximate price-bracket (US$150-200) as the Cupertino giant's ground-breaking earbud
These devices were Jabra's Elite Active 65t, Samsung's Gear IconX, the Bose SoundSport Free and JLab's JBuds Air True Wireless. These runner-ups took relatively small slices of the wireless-earbud pie in 4Q2018, whereas the AirPods grabbed an entire 60% portion to themselves. On the other hand, some other products that cost $100 or less (e.g. the QCY T1s) also made the top 10 of the most popular wireless buds in this quarter. These earbuds, together with all their competitors, sold a total of 12.5 million units in that period.
Surprisingly, Counterpoint asserted that the AirPods could have gained even more market share in this time, had not customers been holding out for their successors, which have only just been released. Considering this new form of competition, as well as the presence of the Samsung Galaxy Buds and Huawei FreeBuds Lite in 2019, it will be interesting to see if Apple's fortunes change by the time the next fourth-quarter wireless audio market reports go live.