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TWS Continue to Record Strong Growth Globally in 1H 2021

by Ken Hyers | Sep 01, 2021

True Wireless Stereo headset (TWS) shipments continued to grow at a remarkably healthy pace in Q2 2021.

Low-cost TWS are flooding markets around the globe, contributing to growth of shipment volumes. Nevertheless, Apple, a premium TWS vendor, was the leading brand, recording 28% annual growth in global shipment in Q2 2021.

Work-from-home has been a big driver of TWS shipments as consumers use the headsets for both personal and work-related activities. 

Familiar smartphone brands dominate TWS shipments. Beyond Apple, Samsung, Xiaomi, Realme are top brands. However, in the Top-5 TWS brands globally, one, JBL, is not a smartphone brand - rather, it is known for excellence in audio, both for speakers and headsets.

JBL TWS

Globally, the fastest growing TWS market in Q2 2021 was Africa and the Middle East.  The largest TWS market was Asia Pacific.  North America is the highest-value TWS market.

Looking forward, we project that the TWS segment will continue its rapid growth. Apple will maintain its lead in the segment even as its share will decline from its peak in 2017 as more vendors enter the market and the addressable market grows.

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

In India alone we estimate there are scores of small TWS vendors. The situation is naturally not sustainable as there is not enough markets for all, but in the short to medium term the development cost and manufacturing cost of TWS headsets is so low that the amount of microvendors will continue to grow.

A reckoning will come, but in the meantime low-cost TWS from microvendors in India and China will drive growing shipment volumes for the next several quarters and years.

Clients of our Bluetooth Device Tracker service can access the report Global Bluetooth TWS Volumes by Region: Q2 2021, here.
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