AirPods dominate global smart headphones market | Cult of Mac

AirPods dominate global smart headphones market


Everything we’re expecting from AirPods Pro 2
AirPods Pro 2 helped give Apple a huge share of the smart headphones market in Q3 2022.
Photo: Apple/Cult of Mac

If it seems like almost everyone you see wearing wireless earbuds is using AirPods, you’re not far off. Apple owns a whopping 31% of the world market – three times the market share of its closest competitor.

And the company’s lead is growing, with shipments growing strongly year-over-year, according to a market research firm.

AirPods lead headphone market by wide margin

Apple made wireless earbuds a popular, mainstream product with the original AirPods back in 2016, and Cupertino continues to lead the market to this day.

The September 2022 launch of AirPods Pro 2 further boosted Apple’s headphone shipments, according to analysts at Canalys. This new model of Apple’s noise-canceling earbuds accounted for 4.2 million units, or 20% of all AirPods shipments during the September quarter, according to Canalys.

All Apple headphone shipments, including Beats, totaled 23.8 million units in Q3 2022. That’s 30.9% of the world market for smart headphones, and a 34% annual growth rate.

For comparison, the second biggest player in this market is Samsung, which shipped 7.4 million units in Q3, for a 9.6% share of the market — and a 15% year-over-year decline. Other top competitors include boAt (5.4% of the market), Xiaomi (3.4%) and Skullcandy (2.6%).

AirPods Pro 2, which Cult of Mac’s reviewer called “among the best earbuds on the market and a worthy upgrade for almost anyone,” are just one of several AirPods options available. Read Cult of Mac‘s AirPods buying guide for holiday giving for help making the right choice.


Daily round-ups or a weekly refresher, straight from Cult of Mac to your inbox.

  • The Weekender

    The week's best Apple news, reviews and how-tos from Cult of Mac, every Saturday morning. Our readers say: "Thank you guys for always posting cool stuff" -- Vaughn Nevins. "Very informative" -- Kenly Xavier.