The global True Wireless Stereo (TWS) shipments saw a 24% surge at 300 million units during last year, as per the latest research from Counterpoint’s TWS Hearables Market Tracker. The report claims that the numbers went up as new products entered the market with more features, like ANC (Active Noise Cancellation) and expanded play time, at affordable prices.
TWS refers to the use of Bluetooth wireless technology to deliver true stereo sound quality through earbuds.
Counterpoint also revealed that market leader Apple saw a slight increase of 5% YoY in its unit sales event though its market share fell to 25.6%. The company’s AirPods 3, which was released later than expected, did well in North America and Europe and led the entire TWS market in Q4 2021, as claimed by Counterpoint. The research firm claims that Samsung’s Galaxy Buds Pro and Galaxy Buds 2, which was released in the first half and second half of the year respectively, also saw a growth of 33%.
Counterpoint also claimed that the $50-$100 and over $200 segments saw unprecedented growth, with JBL and Xiaomi leading the sales charts in the $50-$100 segment. Likewise, Apple drove the growth in the over $200 segment with a 75% share.
Liz Lee, Senior Analyst who leads Counterpoint’s TWS hearables research, said, “The $50-$100 segment grew significantly YoY, as Xiaomi, which had focused on the sub-$50 segment, tried to expand its lineup to the $50-100 range. Further, the competition in the $50-$100 segment intensified, with companies like OPPO, OnePlus and realme pitted against emerging brands like Skullcandy, JLab and Nothing (brand). All this competition resulted in new products offering good quality and more features at reasonable prices and pushing the market growth in 2021.”
Interestingly, Counterpoint also claims that the sub-$50 segment accounted for the largest share in 2021 with strong demand from emerging markets like India. It revealed that while Xiaomi recorded the highest sales in the sub-$50 segment, boAt recorded the highest growth compared to the previous year.
As per IDC India Wearable Device Tracker, TWS shipments in India saw a 74.7% surge in 2021 at 20.3 million units, propelled by two factors — affordability and availability. Moreover, domestic players accounted for over 65% of the shipments in this category in the year 2021 vis-a-vis less than 50% marketshare in the previous year. Imagine Marketing (which includes shipments from BoAt and Edict), emerged as the market leader by capturing nearly 40% of the shipments during 2021.