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Global TWS Market to Grow 33% in 2021, Apple to Become Leader: Counterpoint

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The global true wireless headphones (TWS) market will grow 33% year-over-year in 2021 to reach 310 million units, according to market research firm Counterpoint. The firm said the proportion of sales of low and mid-range models grew faster than expected due to the economic downturn and associated uncertainties. This growth also influenced the performance of the premium brand market. However, companies such as Apple, Xiaomi and Samsung dominated the market in 2020 and are expected to maintain their leadership positions this year. The trend to work and study from home due to the COVID-19 pandemic is also likely to play a critical role in the growth of the segment in 2021.

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Counterpoint in its Global Hearables (TWS) Market Forecast, 2021-2023, predicted tremendous growth in the global TWS headphone market in 2021. Apple will maintain its leadership by selling around 84 million units of its AirPods, although it will lose its four percent share from 2020, according to the report. And Xiaomi and Samsung are expected to retain their nine and seven percent market share, respectively.

The TWS headphone market will take aggressive action in the fourth quarter of 2021, around the time Apple and other brands are expected to launch their new products, the report says.

“The most anticipated is a new version from Apple, its first in two years. We expect this to be one of the main growth drivers for the TWS market from the fourth quarter of 2021 to next year, ”said Liz Lee, senior research analyst at Counterpoint.

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Apple is expected to maintain its leadership in the TWS earphone market globally in 2021
Photo credit: Counterpoint

While Apple is expected to maintain its leadership, the research company expects strong growth in the low- and mid-range segment, which will continue throughout the year. The trend will gradually shift to the mid to high price segment in the future, however, Lee said.

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“Most high-end brands will add advanced features and various functions to their new models and create high added value in the long run. Meanwhile, low to mid-priced brands will further improve price competitiveness to compete for market share, ”she added.

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In 2020, Counterpoint noted that the TWS headphone market grew 78% year-over-year and slightly exceeded the initial annual estimate for the year to reach 233 million units. However, products in the low and mid-priced segment would be the growth engines in 2020.


We’re diving into everything Apple – iPad Pro, iMac, Apple TV 4K, and AirTag – this week on Orbital, the Gadgets 360 podcast. Orbital is available on Apple Podcasts, Google Podcasts, Spotify, and wherever you get your podcasts.

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