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India’s TWS Market Grew Whopping 92 Percent in Q3 Despite Global Slowdown: Canalys

Local brands and smartphone players have helped India mark growth in TWS shipments, the market analyst firm said.

India’s TWS Market Grew Whopping 92 Percent in Q3 Despite Global Slowdown: Canalys

Apple’s AirPods (3rd generation) anticipation restricted global growth

  • TWS earbuds’ growth in India helped push its smart personal audio market
  • Canalys said that the global TWS earbuds category grew marginally
  • Apple continued to lead the market, followed by Samsung and Xiaomi

India has solidified its position as the third-largest market for true wireless stereo (TWS) earbuds with a share of 10 percent, according to a market analyst firm. The TWS earbuds market grew 92 percent in the country to reach 7.3 million shipments in the third quarter of 2021. The growth in the TWS segment has helped expand the smart personal audio market in the country by 62 percent, with 16.6 million units shipped. India's growth notably comes at a time when the global smart personal audio market has dipped by 1.2 percent to 118.8 million units.

Canalys said in its latest report that the smart personal audio market in North America fell 15 percent, while Western Europe saw a decline of 21 percent. This was mainly due to Apple's shipment slump as consumers anticipated the next-generation of AirPods model.

The dip in the global regions, however, did not impact the market of smart personal audio products including TWS earbuds in India. Canalys, in fact, noted that the growth in the country helped push its worldwide market share to 14 percent.

“The strong performance is thanks to local brands, such as Boat, Noise, and Boult, as well as smartphone players, such as Realme, rapidly growing their TWS shipments,” said Canalys Research Analyst Ashweej Aithal.

Globally, the firm said that the TWS earbuds category grew marginally by 1.3 percent to reach 72.2 million units. This was due to the decline of wireless headphones and earphones.

Canalys reported that wireless headphones shipments declined by 4.7 percent and earphones by 4.9 percent.

In the TWS earbuds category, Apple continued to lead its global domination with shipments reaching 17.8 million units. Canalys, however, said that the company's shipments declined by nearly a third compared with a year ago due to a significant drop in demand for AirPods. It was owing to the wait for the AirPods (3rd generation) that debuted in October.

After Apple, Samsung defeated Xiaomi to come second in the market. It was backed by a strong performance from the launch of the Galaxy Buds 2 earbuds and the latest additions from JBL's TWS entry-level models, Canalys said.

Xiaomi moved to third place as, Canalys underlined, it was not able to scale up its affordable Redmi lineup in the market.

Interestingly, India's Boat became one of the top-five TWS vendors globally in the third quarter. The company shipped 2.8 million units that helped capture a share of 3.8 percent. It was up from 0.9 million units shipped with a share of 1.2 percent in the same quarter last year. The significant growth helped Boat marked an annual increase of 220.5 percent.

Boat was followed by China's Edifier that came fifth, with 2.7 million units.

Worldwide TWS shipments and growth Q3 2021 as per Canalys

Vendor Q3 2021 shipments (in million) Q3 2021 share Q3 2020 shipments Q3 2020 share Annual growth
Apple (including Beats) 17.8 24.6% 26.8 37.6% -33.7%
Samsung (incl Harman subsidiaries) 8.7 12.0% 7.7 10.8% 12.7%
Xiaomi 4.9 6.8% 6.3 8.8% -21.3%
Boat 2.8 3.8% 0.9 1.2% 220.5%
Edifier 2.7 3.8% 2.5 3.5% 10.1%
Others 35.4 49.0% 27.2 38.1% 30.1%


Canalys forecasts that the global TWS market will return to a remarkable growth in the fourth quarter for the holiday season as Apple has brought its new AirPods and companies including Jabra, Sony, and JBL are bringing their new models across a range of price points.

“These players are pressured to lower the average selling price of their TWS devices to make themselves competitive in the market,” said Canalys Research Analyst Sherry Jin.

Analyst Aithal suggested that there could be a turning point where the TWS category overtakes wireless earphones in shipment numbers in India and other markets.

“The challenge is to ensure robust supply, given the supply chain bottlenecks and the push to manufacture locally,” he said.

Earlier this month, International Data Corporation (IDC) reported that devices including TWS earbuds led the market of wearables globally to a year-on-year growth of 9.9 percent in the third quarter of 2021. It mentioned that Apple led the market, followed by Samsung, Xiaomi, and Huawei.

Can Nothing Ear 1 — the first product from OnePlus co-founder Carl Pei's new outfit — be an AirPods killer? We discussed this and more on Orbital, the Gadgets 360 podcast. Orbital is available on Apple Podcasts, Google Podcasts, Spotify, Amazon Music and wherever you get your podcasts.
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