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Consumer Electronics

AirPods take wireless headphone sales off the chain

by Taylor Stanton - May 16, 2019

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The long-awaited AirPods release capped the the year that headphone buyers cut the cord, as wireless models comprised half of all online headphone sales in 2016. 

The AirPods premiere was the biggest headphones sales day in 2016

In December, a whopping 75 percent of headphones sold online were wireless. It is not coincidental that this was also the month that AirPods launched.  On the December 13, the day of the AirPods release, spending on headphones was ten times greater than the pre-holiday average for 2016. It was the largest single day of online headphone spending last year.

Apple can't be beat

Apple's Beats brand headphones dominated the wireless headphone market for the last several years.  Prior to the AirPods' launch, Beats headphones had generated nearly a quarter of all cordless headphone sales since January 2015.

Beats products sold even better in the early holiday season. Roughly 32 percent of wireless headphones sales over Cyber Weekend were on Beats. AirPods have taken the top spot for wireless headphones in the last several weeks, however, gaining 26 percent of wireless headphone spending in the weeks since the December launch.

All the young dudes

Eighty-five percent of shoppers who've purchased the AirPods since December 13 are male, similar to the gender breakdown we reported for the MacBook Pro release in October.

Taking a closer look, data shows that male buyers are younger than their female counterparts. Over one-third of the men who bought a pair of AirPods were Millennials. Among female buyers, Boomers are the largest population, with a share of 38 percent.

About this data

With a panel of over 4.4 million online shoppers, Slice Intelligence gives the most detailed, and accurate digital commerce data available, and is reported daily.

Slice Intelligence is the only service to measure digital commerce directly from the consumer, across all retailers, at the item level, and over time. Our retailer-independent methodology precisely measures commerce as it happens. By extracting detailed information from hundreds of millions of aggregated and anonymized e-receipts, Slice can map the entire Purchase Graph, connecting each and every consumer to all their purchases.

Slice gets its data from e-receipts – not a browser, app or software installed by the end-user – so its measurement reflects comprehensive shopping behavior across multiple devices, over time which are key in an increasingly omnichannel retail world. Slice Intelligence is the exclusive e-commerce data provider for the NPD’s Checkout Tracking e-commerce service.