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Xiaomi is Apple's Biggest Challenger in Key Markets in the TWS Earbuds Battle

by Ken Hyers | May 27, 2021

Apple remains the volume leader in Bluetooth True Wireless Stereo (TWS) headsets.  AirPods Shipments grew 21% YoY in 1Q 2021. Overall TWS headsets grew 60% YoY in Q1 2021.  But Xiaomi is coming on strong in key markets in Asia and elsewhere. Apple leads in half of the six main global regions, while Xiaomi leads in the other three.

We expect the TWS earbuds segment to continue its rapid growth through 2021.  Apple will maintain its lead in the segment even as its share declines from its peak in 2017 as more vendors enter the market and the addressable market grows.

Xiaomi Redmi AirDots

There are a number of small vendors in the TWS segment, including many offering AirPod copycat products at much lower price points; many of these copycat products of are shoddy quality, commensurate with their extremely low price-points.

We predict a shakeout will occur within the next two years, particularly in the low-end of the market, as vendors competing in low-cost / low-margin parts of the TWS market are forced out.

But Apple and Xiaomi, along with other top-5 TWS vendors like Samsung and Realme, are in it for the long haul. 

Clients of our Bluetooth Device Tracker (BDT) service can learn who is leading and who are closing in on the leaders in our latest report tracking Global Bluetooth TWS volumes by region by quarter, here.

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