Global TWS market grows at 6.4% in Q2: Its lowest in last 3 years

(Image credit: Srivatsa Ramesh)

The global True Wireless Stereo (TWS) market seems set to hit a plateau as shipments grew at 6.4% quarter-over-quarter - its  lowest-ever figure in three years, according to a new report by market analysis company Canalys (opens in new tab).  In number terms, the market reached 58.3 million units in Q2 2021.

The global smart personal audio market grew 4.7% overall as shipments reached 99.8 million units, but Apple, the leader in the smart personal audio market, saw its first decline ever. Shipments of AirPods TWS devices fell 25.7% to reach 15.0 million units in Q2 2021.

Xiaomi takes the second spot from Samsung

The global TWS market in Q2 2021

(Image credit: Canalys)

But Apple  continued to maintain its lead in the TWS category, but the decline of AirPods shipments resulted in Apple’s market share dipping below 30% in Q2 2021. 

Canalys Research manager Jason Low, however, said “despite the ups and downs, Apple’s key advantage is clear – it has a user ecosystem that is heavily faithful to its products. The release of new AirPods in the second half of the year will prop the category up again, but the growing saturation of its iOS and macOS installed base could be a cause of worry.”

Xiaomi took second place in the TWS market, reclaiming its spot from Samsung with respective shipments at 5.3 million and 5.2 million units. Canalys Research Analyst Cynthia Chen said, “Since late 2019, the two have been evenly matched. While Xiaomi has definitely moved up the value chain, offering more premium TWS products, Samsung is catching up by bolstering both self-branded and sub-branded TWS offerings especially with JBL under the Harman subsidiary.”

Meanwhile, Skullcandy’s market share reached a record high of 7%, pushing it into fourth place for the first time. Skullcandy’s success is attributed to its aggressive pivot to an  affordable lineup such as Dime, Jib and Sesh targeting a younger demographic than Samsung or Apple. 

Wireless headphones and wireless earphones, the other two categories that make up the smart personal audio market, grew 3.0% and 2.1% reaching 15.0 million and 26.5 million units respectively.

Balakumar K
Senior Editor

Over three decades as a journalist covering current affairs, politics, sports and now technology. Former Editor of News Today, writer of humour columns across publications and a hardcore cricket and cinema enthusiast. He writes about technology trends and suggest movies and shows to watch on OTT platforms.