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Global sales volume for true wireless hearables 2018-2020

Sales of true wireless hearables were forecast to increase by 110 million units next year and stand at 230 million units worldwide by 2020. Sales in the first two quarters of 2019 increased by more than 50 percent.

What is behind the growth in hearables?

True wireless hearables are defined as devices that are not connected by a cord or a neckband; they entered the mainstream when Apple released the AirPods in 2016. The success of the ear-worn device has resulted in Apple holding a 50 percent share of the hearables shipment market and their position as market leader could be further strengthened by the release of the second generation AirPods in 2019. Hearables are forecast to replace smartwatches as the top category in the wearables market in coming years – shipments are expected to rise from 46 million units in 2019 to 158 million units by 2022.

From ridicule to must-have device

Upon release in 2016, the Apple AirPods were treated with suspicion because they did not have a cable. Fast forward to the present and sales of the wireless earbuds have helped Apple increase the revenue share of their wearables, home and accessories division. Within each hearable device are small microchips, microphones, and sensors that can recognize voices, monitor noise levels, and detect motion. Apple, along with other manufacturers such as Samsung and Xiaomi, have benefitted from increasing levels of innovation and are changing the way daily tasks are carried out.

Unit sales of true wireless hearables worldwide from 2018 to 2020

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In cooperation with
Counterpoint Research
Release date

August 2019



Survey time period

2018 and 2019

Supplementary notes


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