The global TWS (True Wireless Stereo Headset) market is expected to grow 33 percent (year-over-year) in 2021, reaching 310 million units, according to the Counterpoint global hearables (TWS) market forecast, 2021-23. Apple will remain a leader selling around 84 million units but still lose share by 4 percent. Apple was expected to defend its top position despite its market share decline from 31 percent to 27 percent. China’s Xiaomi was projected to see its presence remain the same as last year at 9 percent.
At third spot, Samsung’s market share in 2021 was estimated to stay unchanged at 7 percent, according to market tracker Counterpoint Research.
“Covid-19 impacted TWS production in China early last year, but the situation has improved since then and the production capacity is now at full-utilization levels. In terms of consumer demand, the impact has been limited, as the market has a relatively higher portion of online sales than other tech devices,” Counterpoint said in an official release. “Besides, more consumers were willing to purchase tech gadgets and accessories to improve their work/study-from-home experiences,” it said.
Major top brands such as Apple are likely to launch next-generation products, which will boost the TWS market further.
“The most anticipated is a new release from Apple, its first in two years. We expect it to be one of the biggest drivers of TWS market growth from Q4 2021 to the next year. Apple will maintain strong market leadership based on its loyal customer base, although its share will inevitably fall with the intensifying competition,” said Senior Research Analyst Liz Lee in a statement.
As Covid-19 will unlikely ease in a short time despite the spread of vaccination, the pent-up demand for high-end TWS is not expected to explode until late Q3 2021. “At that point, the market focus will gradually shift to the mid-to high-price segment as vaccinations help consumer sentiment improve. Then, most premium brands will add advanced features and various functions to their new models and create high-value addition in the long term,” Lee noted. Meanwhile, low- to mid-priced brands will further enhance price competitiveness to compete for market share.
In terms of brand performance, there was no big surprise in 2020. Apple continued to dominate but its share declined steadily through the year and fell below one-third of the TWS market. The market slightly exceeded the initial annual estimate for 2020 to reach 233 million units, mainly driven by the strong performance of low- and mid-price segments, the report mentioned.