March 10, 2022 12:54:51 pm
Truly wireless stereo (TWS) shipments saw a record-breaking number in Q4 2021, crossing the 100 million milestone for the first time. According to Canalys estimates, Apple drove the return of double-digit growth on its back with the launch of its latest Airpods 3 – raising the percentage by 21 to reach 103.8 million shipments.
A strong performance from other smartphone and audio brands also contributed to the overall growth, shipments in smart personal audio reaching 151. 4 million in the last quarter. Samsung came in second, dispatching 43 million shipments in audio products – a growth of 9.2 percent. It was then followed by the Chinese brand Xiaomi, with 25.3 million shipments, at a rate of 5.4 percent.
“Apple prioritized serving the needs of those looking for comfort and ease of use with its third-generation AirPods, aiming to improve on the winning formula of its original AirPods design,” said Sherry Jin, Research Analyst at Canalys. She notes that Apple faces tough competition in the noise cancellation and affordability department.
The Cupertino-based company led the market but was severely affected by the delay of the third-gen Airpods launch. Shipments fell 11.4 percent to 86 million last year.
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TWS shipments in the entirety of 2021 reached 63 percent, further offsetting the decline of wireless earphones and headphones. “TWS adoption is now taking off in developing markets worldwide, including African countries such as Nigeria,” said analyst Cynthia Chen. However, a large number of users still rely on wired devices, for which, she believes that vendors must invest in market education and address concerns over “price, comfort, battery life and ease of use to encourage users to move toward wireless devices.”
Other notable brands include boAt, who made to complete 20.6 million audio shipments in the last quarter, and Skullcandy, coming in with 17.6 million. “Vendors must seize the growing TWS opportunity, as the category is now a driver for adopting next-generation content and technology, possibly serving as an essential entry point into the metaverse,” added Chen.
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