Maybe people don’t care that much about losing Apple’s new AirPods.
In the days right before the holidays and in the weeks after, Apple AirPods sales have exploded, according to a new report from e-retail measurement company Slice Intelligence.
On the day AirPods finally went on sale, Dec. 13, 2016, wireless earphone sales were “ten times greater than the pre-holiday average for 2016. It was the largest single day of online headphone spending in the last year.”
It’s quite a turn of events for the AirPods, which — despite a handful of glowing pre-release reviews — got off to a bumpy start.
For weeks after Apple unveiled its wireless, Bluetooth, touch and motion-aware ear buds in September, consumers and pundits fretted over how they could possibly not lose one or both of the AirPods the moment they got them. It was inconceivable that, without wires, consumers could figure out how to remove the buds from their ears and put them back into the charging case.
The concern helped drive a tiny cottage industry of third-party straps that would hold the AirPods together and help you catch them if they fall. Worries about the viability of AirPods were only compounded when Apple missed its ship date. Was there something wrong with the design? Was it a Bluetooth issue? Apple had famously created its own low-energy Bluetooth chip, the W1, for the AirPods and a new series of wireless Beats headphones (Apple also owns Beats).
Now that the AirPods are in market, all those concerns may be fading away (at least Apple seems unconcerned about losing them. They recently removed the Finder for AirPods app from the App Store) and sales are, according to Slice Intelligence, only growing.
While Beats headphones led the overall wireless headphone holiday sales market, AirPods sales have grown and surpassed them. According to the e-receipts from 4.4 million shoppers Slice measures, AirPods now account for 26% or wireless headphone sales, followed by Bose at 16% and Beats at 15%.
AirPods are also, according to Slice Intelligence, skewing heavily male (85%).
One thing we don’t know is if iPhone 7 and 7 Plus sales, especially over the holidays, are helping drive AirPods sales. Apple’s newest smartphones do not have traditional 3.5 mm headphone ports. They do ship with lightning port headphones and a 3.5 mm-to-lightning adapter. However, some people don’t like dongles. Did they go for the $159 AirPods instead? It’ll be hard to draw any conclusions until Apple releases Q1 earnings numbers on Jan. 31, which may include details on the iPhone 7, 7 Plus and AirPods.
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