India TWS Shipments Double YoY in Q3 2022; Indian Brands Capture Record 79% Share

  • boAt grew 128% YoY to mark its nine successive quarters of lead, while Noise stood second for the fourth consecutive quarter.
  • OnePlus bounced back strongly in the top-five rankings with a 6% share in Q3 2022.
  • Almost four in five TWS shipped in India were from an Indian brand.
  • Domestic manufacturing saw a record 288% quarterly growth this year, contributing to 34% of the total shipments.
  • Online channel maintained 79% of the volume with Flipkart in the lead.

New Delhi, Beijing, Hong Kong, Seoul, London, San Jose, Buenos Aires – November 17, 2022

India’s TWS (True Wireless Stereo earbuds) shipments doubled YoY in Q3 2022, according to the latest research from Counterpoint’s IoT Service. The growth was primarily driven by festive season inventory to meet the strong pent-up demand, multiple new launches, discount events and promotions.

Commenting on brand performance, Senior Research Analyst Anshika Jain said, “The top five TWS brands in India – boAt, Noise, Mivi, OnePlus and Boult Audio – accounted for almost 70% of the total shipments. OnePlus made a comeback in the top five driven by two recent launches – Nord Buds and Nord Buds CE – at an affordable price point. Indian brands showed the fastest YoY growth of 143% to reach their highest shipments ever in Q3 2022. Launching multiple devices according to customer needs, effective marketing tactics and aggressive participation in sales events have been their major growth drivers. Moreover, strong growth was observed in Q3 due to festive season sales and a focus on local manufacturing. People also use these devices for gifting purposes during festivals like Raksha Bandhan and for corporate gifts.”

On best-selling models, Jain said, “The top 10 TWS models captured 41% of the total TWS shipments. These models mostly catered to the low-mid price segment (INR 1,000-INR 3,000). Top player boAt captured seven spots in the top-10 best-selling model rankings. With a 9% share, the Airdopes 131 remained the top model for the sixth successive quarter. OnePlus took two spots with its recently launched models Nord Buds and Nord Buds CE grabbing a 2% share each. Noise took one spot with its best-performing buds VS102 model, which had a 3% share in Q3 2022.”

On distribution channels, Associate Research Director Liz Lee said, “It is still challenging for brands to strengthen their presence in offline channels, as a huge share of 79% still comes from the online market. In addition, the TWS online segment has a strong footprint on Flipkart, which has more than half of the total online shipment share. Key players Mivi and Boult Audio have recently stepped into the offline space and plan to go aggressive on their expansion offline. Online-centric brand Truke has also aimed to enter the offline market in the immediate quarter. We may witness brands existing in both online and offline marketplaces exploring and partnering with big retail chain companies to increase their offline presence.”

Source: India Hearables (TWS) Shipments, Model Tracker, Q3 2022


Dominant Indian brands lost a small share to Chinese and global brands in Q3 2022.

  • Indian brands grew 143% YoY in Q3 2022 driven by boAt, Noise, Mivi, Boult Audio and Ptron. All the new entrants in Q3 2022 were local brands, namely Mobatree, 5 Elements, Duffer and Lyne (a U&I sub-brand). Besides, Indian brands had high penetration in the low-price segment (<INR 2,000 or <$50), with a cumulative share of 95%.
  • Chinese brands saw an increased share of 13% in Q3 2022. OnePlus drove this growth by offering a feature-rich device, the Nord Buds CE, at the lowest price point in its entire TWS portfolio. The good performance of the Nord Buds model also contributed to its growth. realme and OPPO also offered multiple new advanced TWS devices that further supported the growth of Chinese brands.
  • Global brands, which mostly cater to the premium segment (>INR 5,000), strengthened their growth with Apple launching its much-awaited new model, the Airpods Pro (2nd Gen). Global brands saw 91% QoQ and 9% YoY growth in Q3 2022, which was driven by Samsung, JBL and Apple.


Counterpoint Technology Market Research is a global research firm specializing in products in the TMT (technology, media and telecom) industry. It services major technology and financial firms with a mix of monthly reports, customized projects and detailed analyses of the mobile and technology markets. Its key analysts are seasoned experts in the high-tech industry.

Analyst Contacts:

Anshika Jain

Counterpoint Research



Liz Lee

Counterpoint Research



Counterpoint Research

Counterpoint Research



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India TWS Shipments Increase 168% YoY in Q2 2022; Local Brands Capture Record Share at 81%

  • boAt continued to dominate with a 46% share, while Noise took the second spot for the third time in a row.
  • Mivi made it to the top five for the first time with a 6% share in Q2 2022.
  • Online channel penetration stood at 79%, with Flipkart capturing half of these shipments.

New Delhi, Beijing, Hong Kong, Seoul, London, San Jose, Buenos Aires – September 1, 2022

India’s TWS (True Wireless earbuds) shipments delivered a strong quarter with 168% YoY growth and 62% QoQ growth in Q2 2022, according to the latest research from Counterpoint’s IoT Service. The increased penetration of the low-price band (₹1,000-₹2,000 or $25-$50), multiple discount offers and growing popularity due to convenience of use led to this huge jump in market demand.

Commenting on the overall market, Senior Research Analyst Anshika Jain said, “India’s TWS market continues to show phenomenal growth due to the reasons like availability of low-priced new TWS devices, better features and functionalities like ANC, innovative designs, and low-latency mode for gaming. The market is expected to grow 47% in 2022 as new brands continue to arrive even as existing ones expand their channel presence. Besides, consumer demand is expected to rise during the festive period as people are also seeing TWS devices as a good option for gifting purposes.”

On local production, Jain added, “The share of domestic manufacturing stood at 16%, the highest ever. With boAt, Noise, Mivi and pTron ramping up their local manufacturing capabilities, these brands together accounted for 98% of the domestic shipment volume in Q2 2022. ‘Made in India’ has been taking the spotlight since the beginning of this year. But more brands started focusing on local manufacturing during this quarter. Gizmore and new entrant SWOTT also offered locally produced devices in Q2 2022. Further, we expect to see ‘Make in India’ devices from Truke and Portronics as they focus on localizing their manufacturing to maintain price competitiveness.”

Talking about the dominance of Indian brands, Associate Research Director Liz Lee said, “During Q2 2022, homegrown brands captured the top five brands rankings for the first time. These brands together took over 70% share and were quite aggressive in their marketing strategies, introducing new advanced alternatives at affordable prices along with discount schemes through various sales events. Besides, there has been a growing emphasis on roping in brand ambassadors to capture customer mind share. The top position was taken by boAt, followed by Noise and Boult Audio. Mivi entered the top five list for the very first time due to its focus on R&D and designing better quality products under the ‘Make in India’ scheme.”

India Hearables (TWS) Market Share of Top 5 Brands, Q2 2022

Source: India Hearables (TWS) Shipments, Model Tracker, Q2 2022

Market summary for Q2 2022

  • boAt maintained its leadership with 236% YoY growth in Q2 2022. The substantial demand was driven by its new low-priced alternatives and big sales events like Amazon’s summer and mega music fest sales. The Airdopes 131 remained the bestseller model, contributing a 15% share to the overall TWS market shipments.
  • Noise maintained its second position for the third consecutive quarter with 190% YoY growth driven by its locally produced TWS earbuds. The brand again refreshed its low-priced VS series with the launch of the Noise Buds VS104 in Q2 2022. The Noise Buds VS102 was the brand’s most popular model, entering the top 10 models list for the quarter.
  • Boult Audio again took the third spot and reached a record high volume with 233% YoY During the quarter, it offered multiple new launches in the low-price segments (₹1,000-₹2,000 or $25-$50). The brand also participated in Amazon sales events to drive volumes. The Boult Audio Airbass X Pods grabbed a spot in the top 10 bestseller list, contributing 33% of the brand’s volume.
  • Mivi made it to the top five brand ranking for the very first time with more than 2X QoQ The Duopods F30 and Duopods M20 were its most popular devices.
  • PTron took the fifth spot with a 4% The brand actively participated in multiple sales events on different e-commerce platforms and offered two new launches at an entry-level price band (less than ₹1,000 or $13). The PTron Bassbuds Duo was its bestseller model, making it to the top 10 model rankings.

Other emerging brands in Q2 2022

  • OPPO saw 171% YoY growth driven by its frequent new launches. The brand launched the Enco buds Air 2 Pro in Q2 2022 in the mid-price segment. It was the second most popular model after the Enco Buds in the brand’s TWS offerings.
  • OnePlus maintained its position in the top 10 list. It released a new model Buds Pro in the mid-price segment in Q2 2022. The model is the least-priced TWS device in the brand’s portfolio.
  • Samsung took the first position in the premium segment driven by the popularity of its Galaxy Buds 2 and Galaxy Buds Pro models. The brand also offered discounts during Amazon’s summer sale.
  • Truke registered 75% YoY growth in Q2 2022. The brand offered two new alternatives at low price points with ENC technology. The Buds F1 model attained a record of selling 10,000 units on its launch day on Flipkart



Counterpoint Technology Market Research is a global research firm specializing in products in the TMT (technology, media and telecom) industry. It services major technology and financial firms with a mix of monthly reports, customized projects and detailed analyses of the mobile and technology markets. Its key analysts are seasoned experts in the high-tech industry.


Analyst Contacts

Anshika Jain

Liz Lee

Counterpoint Research

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Sony WF-1000XM4 Review: Great ANC TWS Earbuds With Stellar Audio

The TWS hearables are one of the fast-growing segments in consumer electronics seeing a 24% YoY growth in 2021. OEMs removing wired headphones from smartphone packaging, and the work-and-learn from home scenario post-pandemic are some of the factors contributing to this growth. The wireless earbuds also have a higher attach rate than other accessories such as smartwatches. In 2022, we expect the trend to continue and the TWS earbuds market is expected to grow by another 24% YoY.

The personalized content consumption from music listening to podcasts, video streaming, and gaming has increased during the pandemic. Even video conferencing needs to connect & communicate with clients, colleagues’ school, and family has grown significantly. And these trends have catalyzed the need for reliable earbuds with features that include Active Noise Cancellation (ANC), great audio, mic quality, and chords free being increasingly preferred. While these features have been available in premium earbuds but with growing demand, scale and innovation are quickly trickling down to relatively lower price points. There are only a handful of OEMs those package all of the above features really well, and Sony is one of them carving out mindshare alongside Apple and Samsung.

Sony’s TWS earbuds in the 1000XM-series are very popular and have set a benchmark for features like ANC, superior audio quality, and design. Focusing on the premium market and limited distribution reach compared to Apple or Samsung, the Japanese manufacturer was still able to capture a 3% volume share globally in 2021. However, Sony is also expanding its TWS line-up and premium features for models in the mainstream $100-$200 segment which should help it gain more share in 2022.

Talking about TWS growth in the high-end segment, Counterpoint Research Senior Analyst Liz Lee said, “The premium TWS earbuds segment saw robust growth in the second half of 2021 and we believe despite the recent macro-uncertainty due to the Ukraine crisis, lockdowns in China and inflationary climate, the demand for premium and mainstream TWS earbuds will continue to rise. Sony is expected to do well being the vanguard of driving key features such as ANC and audio experience in the TWS earbuds market.”

We have been using the premium Sony WF-1000XM4 true wireless earbuds for a few months now. The new XM4 version sports advanced features such as LDAC codec for higher bit-rate audio transmission, Speak-to-Chat using bone conduction sensors, ambient sound mode, and 360 Reality Audio support, vs the previous generation XM3 model. So, while the WF-1000XM3 was arguably one of the best all-round TWS, what has Sony done differently this time with the new 1000XM4 to take it to the next level?

Following is our detailed analysis of the new XM4 model right from packaging to performance after making it our daily driver for the last three months:

♻️ Plastic-free Unboxing Experience: A Move Towards Sustainable Future

  • Sustainability and efforts toward reducing the carbon footprint are becoming a key strategy for several tech companies and it’s good to see Sony going above and beyond.
  • The WF-1000XM4’s packaging does not use any plastic, and the box is made from recycled paper.
  • Sony also used embossed logos instead of printing the box with ink, a small effort without compromising the user experience.

Counterpoint Sony WF-1000XM4 Review Sustainability

WATCH: Sony WF – 1000XM4 – Unboxing & First Look

Compact Design, Comfortable Fit

  • Compared to the 1000XM3, the new 1000XM4 comes with a more compact design where the charging case is now 40% smaller, and the earbuds are 10% smaller.
  • The compact case makes it even easier to carry in the pocket, whereas the earbuds also now fit well, without popping out of the ear, like on the predecessor.
  • The earbuds snugly fit in the ear and are comfortable to wear for hours, provided, you don’t push them too hard in your ears to get a tight fit.
  • Even when working out – like doing a few jumping jacks or high stepping, the earbuds were firmly secure in the ears.
  • Sony has done away with silicone ear tips, and bundled foam ear tips instead.
  • Foam ear tips are a good addition as they offer great passive noise isolation while fitting comfortably in your ears.

Sony WF-1000XM4 Specifications and Features

Hi-Res Audio Streaming, Quick Pairing

  • The earbuds come with 6mm dynamic drivers that support a frequency range of 20-40,000Hz.
  • With Bluetooth 5.2 connectivity, the earbuds support AAC, SBC, and LDAC (bit rate up to 990kbps) codecs.
  • The pairing process is straightforward, and if you have an Android smartphone, the Sony WF-1000XM4 also supports the Google Fast Pair feature.
  • Though, the multi-point connectivity feature as seen on Jabra, Apple AirPods, and Samsung Galaxy Buds series, could have been a good addition.
  • The earbuds are sweat-resistant and come with an IPx4 rating, so you can wear them during workouts, or even in light rains when you go on a walk or run.

Counterpoint Sony WF-1000XM4 Review Earbuds

Companion App and Features

  • Both on Android and iOS, Sony has a companion app called “Headphones” which gives you can access to some core features.
  • You can adjust the equalizer, ambient sound control, ANC (Active Noise Cancellation), and more.
  • Once you set the equalizer, the profile is created and saved on the earbuds, which is a good differentiator over competitors.
  • So, even if you pair the earbuds with a new smartphone or a PC on which the “Headphones” app is not installed, you can still enjoy music with the equalizer profile you set using the app on another smartphone.

counterpoint sony wf-1000xm4 review companion app

🎙Speak-to-Chat for Quick Communication

  • Speak-to-chat is an interesting feature that uses bone conduction technology to pick vibrations from your voice to temporarily pause music and start ambient noise.
  • This feature comes in handy when you are listening to music and want to talk to someone, say while commuting or walking on the road and asking for direction.
  • The feature works like a charm, but if like me, you too like humming to the tunes while listening to music, better to keep the feature off as the bone conduction is very sensitive in picking voice, and it activates the ambient sound while pausing music.
  • There is also a Quick Attention feature, where you can “Tap and Hold” on the left earbud to quickly pause music and activate the ambient sound mode, and it turns off as soon as you release your finger.

Counterpoint Sony WF-1000XM4 Review Speak to Chat

Sony WF-1000XM4 Performance: More Bang for your Buck

Ambient Sound: Stay Aware of Surroundings

  • Activating the ambient sound mode, you can hear your surroundings more clearly, thanks to the two noise-sensing mics on each earbud.
  • It lets you stay connected with the surroundings while listening to music, very useful when commuting on a metro or bus.
  • The app even lets you adjust the strength depending on the amount of ambient noise you want to let in.

Counterpoint Sony WF-1000XM4 Review ANC and Ambient Modes

🔇Excellent ANC: Zone Out from the Noise

  • Sony has included a new V1 integrated processor in the earbuds which powers ANC and LDAC Bluetooth codec support.
  • The V1 processor takes its noise-canceling capabilities even further than the predecessor by cutting off more noise at different frequencies.
  • We tested the ANC capabilities on a long-haul flight while traveling to MWC 22, and locally while traveling in metro and cabs.
  • With ANC ‘On’ and listening to music even at 50% volume, the earbuds block out ambient noise effectively while letting you immerse in the music.
  • There is also a wind noise reduction feature which worked very effectively in blocking out noise when sitting on a window seat on a local train.

Counterpoint Sony WF-1000XM4 Review Mics

🔊Clean, Immersive Sound Quality      

  • Sony has consistently delivered great personal audio devices, and the WF-1000XM4 is no different.
  • The earbuds are very well tuned to instantly get yourself lost in the groove.
  • It offers a versatile performance irrespective of the music genre you are listening to.
  • With most TWS, I prefer customizing the equalizer to suit my listening preferences, but with the XM4, I mostly kept the EQ off.
  • Though, at times when I felt like having some bass punch, I would set Clear Bass to +2, while keeping the rest of the frequencies flat.
  • Most of my listening is generally on iPhone with Apple Music as a source, and despite having songs in Lossless quality, the iPhones only support AAC codec.
  • Though audio on flagship Android smartphones sounds a little better due to support for LDAC codec.
  • The connectivity is stable too, as long as you are within a five-meter range.
  • Apple Music lossless, Tidal, or Prime Music on Android lets you take advantage of high-res audio listening, but the same is not possible with Spotify.
  • Mic quality on calls was good and recipients had no issues hearing me.

🔋Reliable Battery Life

  • On a full charge with mixed usage and ANC On, the WF-1000XM4 offered a good battery life of a little over six hours.
  • The charging case adds two full charges for the earbuds, so you get a total of 18-19 hours of battery life before needing the charge the case again.
  • The earbuds also support a quick charge feature where even five minutes of charging can offer up to 60 mins of playtime and during my testing, it worked for close to 50 mins, which is good.
  • The case takes about 90 minutes to fully charge with a wired Type-C fast charger.
  • There is also support for wireless charging, but it takes a little over three hours to fully charge.

Counterpoint Sony WF-1000XM4 Review Wireless Charging

Key Takeaways

  • The Sony WF-1000XM4 delivers excellent sound quality catering to audiophiles and general users.
  • The active noise cancellation (ANC) is among the best that we’ve tried on TWS earbuds.
  • Battery life even with ANC ‘On’ is not an issue with the 1000XM4, and with ANC ‘Off’, it covers you for almost the entire workday.
  • Additional features like saving the audio profile on the earbuds, IPx4 rating, and wireless charging, offer a value package.

Wishlist for WF-1000XM4 Successor

  • While the attention awareness feature using bone conduction technology is a good addition, the low sensitivity needs more refinements to not trigger aggressively.
  • In-ear detection could be better, currently, even if the earbuds are kept on the table, the music playback does not stop, and it continues to play.
  • Multi-point Bluetooth connection to quickly and automatically switch between devices will be a good addition, especially as most of us extensively use a smartphone and a laptop in our daily life.
  • Gaming latency could be better, as it will come in handy when playing games like BGMI or COD: Mobile on a connected smartphone.

ALSO READ: Other Strategic Reviews on Smartphones, Smartwatches, TWS & More

India TWS Shipments up 68% YoY in Q2 2021 With boAt Maintaining Lead

  • boAt maintained its lead for the fourth successive quarter in Q2 2021, posting 426% YoY growth. OnePlus and realme captured the second and third spots respectively.
  • Local brands further strengthened their position in India’s TWS market, contributing more than three-fifths of the total shipment volume.
  • 60% of the shipments were driven by the INR 1,000-INR 2,000 price band.

Boston, Toronto, London, New Delhi, Hong Kong, Beijing, Taipei, Seoul – August 13, 2021

India’s TWS market registered 68% YoY growth during the second quarter of 2021, according to the latest research from Counterpoint’s IoT Service. This growth was driven by new launches in the affordable price segment along with improved features.

Senior Research Analyst Anshika Jain said, “We have seen a phenomenal change in India’s TWS market with the entry of new players and frequent new launches. More than 40 brands have entered this market since 2020. In the next quarter, we will see the entry of more brands (like Nothing Ear, Dizo and Micromax) across price tiers to grab a larger share of this untapped market. Some of the new entrants in Q2 2021 were Lava, Aiwa and TCL. Low-cost offerings have provided the necessary boost to this segment. The share of the INR 1,000-INR 2,000 price band grew to 60% of the overall shipments in Q2 2021 compared to 25% in the same quarter last year.”

Looking at the overall market dynamics, Jain added, “The market’s growth saw some resistance during April due to COVID-19 restrictions, including on e-commerce giants in some parts of the country. However, the other two months of the quarter met the pent-up demand and helped maintain the growth momentum.”

On the domestic manufacturing front, Research Associate Anam Padha said, “Players are looking to make these devices locally to reap the benefits of the government’s PLI (Production-Linked Incentive) scheme. For instance, Mivi launched its first Made-in-India TWS device, called DuoPods A25, during the quarter. Mivi is the second brand after pTron to launch a Made-in-India TWS product. boAt has also decided to shift most of its manufacturing base to India to provide more affordable devices. The latest entrant, Aiwa, is also exploring a similar possibility, which indicates that more brands are likely to follow this path to offer new features at low price points.”

Counterpoint Research - India Hearables (TWS) Market Share of Top 5 Brands, Q2 2021
Source: India Hearables (TWS) Shipments by Model Tracker, Q2 2021

In Q2 2021, boAt topped the charts for the fourth quarter in a row with a 37% share of the total TWS shipments. Aggressive marketing, celebrity endorsements and ‘value for money’ offerings like the Airdopes 701, Airdopes 281 Pro and Airdopes 481V2 helped the brand to maintain a dominating position in the Indian TWS market. Pushing the inventory for its popular model Airdopes 131 during Flipkart’s Big Saving Days sale in Q2 was another driver for its growth.

Brands like OnePlus and realme are leveraging their existing smartphone user base to grow their presence in the TWS market. The continuous popularity of the Buds Z has helped OnePlus capture the second spot in the growing market. realme maintained its position in the Top 5 brands because of its affordable launches. The brand focused on offering prominent features like ANC at an affordable price point in its recently launched devices like the Buds Q2 and Buds Air 2.

Noise moved one step up to take the fourth spot in Q2 2021 with 117% YoY growth. It offered a good number of new alternatives to the customers and slightly shifted its product portfolio towards the lower price band of INR 1,000-INR 2,000.


Counterpoint Technology Market Research is a global research firm specializing in products in the TMT (technology, media and telecom) industry. It services major technology and financial firms with a mix of monthly reports, customized projects and detailed analyses of the mobile and technology markets. Its key analysts are seasoned experts in the high-tech industry.

Analyst Contacts:

Anshika Jain

Anam Padha

Counterpoint Research

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Global True Wireless Hearables Market to Grow by 90% to 230 Million Units in 2020

The market is expected to grow at 80% CAGR from 2019 to 2022 with a similar growth momentum as the early smartphone market a decade ago

 Seoul, Hong Kong, New Delhi, Beijing, London, Buenos Aires, San Diego

December 6th, 2019

The size of the global market for true wireless hearables is expected to reach 120 million units this year and 230 million units in 2020, growing 90% YoY, according to the findings of Counterpoint Research’s Hearables Market Forecast.

Even though Apple’s market share fell to 45% in Q3 2019, it will likely take more than 50% of the market share on an annual basis. Apple is expected to show a significant turnaround in Q4 fueled by its new model, AirPods Pro, which has gained huge popularity since the launch in late October. In 2020, Apple will maintain a strong market leadership based on its loyal customer base, with advanced product and marketing strategies.

In 2020, the market will be more dynamic as tech giants such as Amazon, Google and Microsoft are entering the true wireless hearables industry, and existing smartphone makers such as Samsung, Xiaomi and Huawei will expand their business aggressively. While the rapid growth of the Chinese market is prominent, Chinese players are expected to pick-up further in 2020. Not only global brands but the emerging Chinese local brands in low-end products will also command attention.

Now new models are ceaselessly released with various features and functions, including noise cancellation, bio-sensing, waterproofing and integrated AI voice assistants in broader price ranges from low-cost entry to high-end premium. In addition, demand for replacements from consumers who purchased first generation products two or three years ago, will likely soar, as well as first time purchasers who are now entering the market in large numbers.

Liz Lee, Senior Analyst at Counterpoint Research, said, “The true wireless hearables market will have a similar growth momentum as the early smartphone market a decade ago. The CAGR of the smartphone market from 2009 to 2012 was 80%, and the true wireless hearables market is expected to grow at 80% CAGR from 2019 to 2022 as well. Based on future product strategies focused on voice communications from global tech companies and their efforts to create high-added value, the true wireless hearables are just becoming one of the daily necessities among consumers.”

Exhibit: Hearables Market Forecast (2019-2022)

 Global True Wireless Earbuds (Hearables) Market Forecast (2019-2022) by Brand and Region” is available for purchase at

Please feel free to reach out to us at for further questions regarding our latest research, insights or press inquiries.

Analyst Contacts:

Liz Lee

Counterpoint Research

Global True Wireless Hearables Market Reaches 33 Million Units in Q3 2019

The true wireless hearables market for 2019 is expected to reach 120 million units and global tech giants’ strategies focused on voice communication will help sustain the strong growth momentum

 Seoul, Hong Kong, New Delhi, Beijing, London, Buenos Aires, San Diego

November 15th, 2019

The size of the global market for true wireless hearables reached 33 million units (USD 4.1 billion) in Q3 2019, growing 22% QoQ, according to the findings of Counterpoint Research’s Hearables Market Tracker.

Geographically, the US accounted for 31% of the global market and exceeded 10 million units for the first time in a single quarter. China has recently expanded remarkably and grew 44% QoQ in Q3.

Apple continued its leadership by growing sales of the second generation AirPods, but its share fell to 45% in Q3 from 53% in the previous quarter, due to growth among second-tier players. Samsung failed to secure its second place, slipping to third place with 6% share. Xiaomi rose to second place from fourth as sales volume expanded significantly mainly from the Chinese market on the evaluation that its Redmi Airdots is a great budget product with a price point around USD 20.

JBL and Beats were the following leading brands and ranked fourth and fifth, respectively. The market share of their new premium models, such as the JBL TUNE 120 released in July, and Beats Powerbeats Pro in May, have increased significantly, boosted by favorable market reviews of sound quality and design by consumers. Amoi, a new Chinese brand, is also striking. Its F9 product has gained popularity, mainly from the Chinese domestic market. Amoi attained the global sixth position, surpassing QCY, the former leader in the low-end market.

Since new powerful models, such as Apple’s AirPods Pro, Amazon Echo Buds, Microsoft Surface Earbuds, and Jabra Elite 75t have recently been released, consumer interest is increasing. Given the recent growth momentum and the effect of year-end promotions, such as Singles’ Day, Black Friday and Christmas, the Q4 market is expected to show further high growth. Thus, Counterpoint Research expects the annual market to reach 120 million units in 2019.

Liz Lee, Senior Analyst at Counterpoint Research, said, “The recognition that true wireless hearables are the most useful and convenient smartphone accessories is spreading fast among consumers. The elimination of inconvenient wires, sophisticated designs with advanced features such as active noise cancellation is proving a significant purchase motivator. True wireless hearables are also in line with future product strategies focused on voice communications from global tech companies and their efforts to create high-added value. In particular, tech giants such as Amazon, Microsoft and Google have joined in order to spread AI voice assistants through mobile devices, and accordingly true wireless hearables will evolve into smarter devices by replacing and enhancing some functions of the current smartphone.”

Exhibit 1: Q3 2019 – Global Hearables Market

Global TWS Hearables Market Q3 2019

Exhibit 2: Q3 2019 – Market Share by Brand

Global TWS Hearables Market Share by Brand Q3 2019

Global True Wireless Earbuds (Hearables) Market Tracker by Brand & Regions: Q3 2019” is available for purchase at

Please feel free to reach out to us at press(at) for further questions regarding our latest research, insights or press inquiries.

Analyst Contacts:

Liz Lee

Counterpoint Research

Apple is the Most Preferred True Wireless Hearable Brand for Future Purchase in the US

Greater democratization of wireless technology and reduction in prices will help wireless hearables become mainstream in the next two-three years. The findings of our Consumer Lens survey reveals that Apple remains the top of the mind for most US consumers for a future purchase.

Apple’s AirPods, a true wireless hearable device, turns out to be the preferred choice for future purchase due to factors like ease of use, comfort & fit, and portability. Further, Apple also edged rivals because true wireless as a category is the preferred choice over wireless earphones, due to factors like better sound quality, portability, and ease of use.

Future Preference for True Wireless

Note: It is a multi-response question, and the percentage will not add up to 100%

Meanwhile, our survey also reveals that close to three out of five respondents already have a pair of wireless headphones/earphones in the US. Nearly half of the respondents bought/received their hearables more than a year ago, and almost 40% of the respondents are willing to buy a hearable in the next year. This clearly, wireless is the future. Premium smartphones today come without headphone jacks, which is only helping increase the adoption of wireless hearables among premium smartphone users. This indicates a definite shift in consumer preference from wired to wireless.

Our hearable market tracker also corroborates this shift. The true wireless hearables reached 27 million units in Q2 2019, growing 56% quarter-on-quarter (QoQ) globally. At the end of 2019, the market is expected to reach 120 million units globally. Most of the growth is coming from markets like the US, Europe, and China.

Unlike the smartphone market in the US, which is driven by operator channels, hearable devices spread across multiple sales channels. Online channels dominate the hearable purchase market because of convenience, special promotions, bundle offers, and seasonal discounts.

As shipments increase for wireless hearables, use of artificial intelligence (AI) in voice tech is emerging as a new user interface with many new applications. Almost half of the respondents in our survey are aware of AI in hearables, and one in three respondents have used it in the past. According to the analysis, about 70% of respondents now consider it an important feature for future hearable purchases, and around 30% of the respondents who are aware of AI features will likely pay more to have this in their next hearable. This indicates a big opportunity for such a feature. Basic features for regular users are the most important. Features like control of music and volume through voice-commands, smart ambient noise cancellation, voice search, hand-free calling are the most common usage preference highlighted by the respondents.

Our latest research of the hearables market — Hearables Market Tracker Q2 2019 and Hearables Consumer Insights (USA) – is available for purchase. Please feel free to reach out to us at sales(at) for further questions regarding our latest research, insights or press inquiries.

IFA2019 – Mid-Range Smartphones Get Some Much-Needed Attention

In the smartphone market, a lot of emphasis is given to flagship products – they are the ones that tend to receive the first release of new technologies and are therefore championed by opinion-formers. But at IFA2019, the mid-range products were more prominent, and this is a good thing.

Mid-range is 40% of volume

Products with a wholesale price of between US$200 and US$800 account for ~40% of global volume. Even markets like the US, which has traditionally been split between high-end and low-end, is now seeing growth in mid-range price bands.

5G arriving fast to mid-range

With 150 designs already underway, or launched, Qualcomm is the undisputed 5G leader. One of the key announcements at IFA was delivered during Qualcomm’s keynote address by company President, Christiano Amon. He revealed that 5G capabilities are coming to its Snapdragon 7 and 6 series starting in 2020. These are mid-range application processors used to power many of the products that form the 40% of volume. And while 5G devices built around these processors will likely be more costly than non-5G versions, they will also fall solidly within the mid-range.

Huawei – 5G powerhouse, that’s losing its power

Richard Yu gave one of his typically upbeat presentations where he announced two key products – the Kirin 990 5G SoC and the Kirin A1 which is designed for wearables. Huawei claims it’s the first Bluetooth and Bluetooth Low Energy (BLE) chip to support version 5.1.

The Kirin 990 is a powerhouse chipset based on the TSMC 7nm FinFet + EUV process. It incorporates the modem to provide a single chip solution – though only for sub-6GHz frequency ranges for now, though it does support both Non-Standalone (NSA) and Standalone (SA) 5G network types.

Huawei joins with Samsung that launched the Exynos 980 single-chip solution, and will likely be outflanked by Qualcomm’s forthcoming Snapdragon 865.

Huawei Kirin 990 5G SoC

However, Huawei continued to ignore the massive elephant in the room that will likely crush Huawei’s consumer business – the trade ban by the US that means its next product – the Mate 30, that will be powered by the Kirin 990, likely won’t launch, natively, with Google’s GMS services, forcing consumers to have to side-load the services. It also means that the operating system will not be supported with updates and security patches throughout the product life. For many consumers and many operators, this will be too difficult to contemplate buying the product. We, therefore, expect that Huawei will continue to suffer share losses in the market.

Huawei’s misfortune opens door

As Huawei suffers a traumatic loss of market share, it opens the door to others to take advantage of the vacuum it creates.

HMD Nokia has been flat-lining in market share terms in the smartphone market. It has done well in feature phones, but while that’s good, the market for feature phones will inevitably gradually decline, so it’s crucial that its smartphone business flourishes.

HMD Nokia launched two new smartphones as updates to its 6 and 7 series – the 6.2 and 7.2.

Both include innovative technology from Pixelworks that efficiently upscales content to HD on the fly. This means that the products can be spec’d with cost-efficient screens and application processors (a Snapdragon 636 on the Nokia 6.2 and a Snapdragon 660 on the 7.2) but deliver performance equivalent to more costly products. Both also sport triple-camera setups with the 7.2 getting a 1/2 inch 48-megapixel sensor.

Pricing for the 6.2 starts at €199 with the 7.2 starting at €299.

HMD Nokia emphasised its lead in updating software and security based on the research conducted by Counterpoint Research.

In addition to the smartphones, HMD Nokia also introduced three new feature phones – a market where it leads by a considerable margin already. The new products will help it tighten its stranglehold on the feature phone space:

The Nokia 110 – a cute basic 2G feature phone based on enhanced Series 30 operating system.

The Nokia 2720 – a flip phone smart feature phone with 4G LTE capability and running on KaiOS with essential apps for many markets including Facebook and WhatsApp preloaded. An emergency button is also included which means that the 2720 could be aimed at the elders market to compete with offerings from companies like Doro, though the emergency button is quite small.

The Nokia 800 Tough – Nokia feature phones are well-known for their ability to withstand harsh treatment, but the 800 Tough goes several steps further. It’s a ruggedized smart feature phone running KaiOS and built to MIL 810G standard. It also has a remarkable battery life. On GSM, Nokia claims it will last almost six weeks between charges. For expeditions that may have limited access to power, this could be a lifesaver, though the market for builders and other laborers is much larger than those of explorers!

TCL takes a swing at the smartphone market

TCL is best known globally for its TV business in North America, but it offers a diverse range of consumer electronics products that span domestic appliances, air conditioners, TVs, audio products, to smartphones. TCL licenses the Alcatel and BlackBerry brands, which have carved out specific niche positions – notably Alcatel that performs quite well in the prepaid markets of the Americas. But the Alcatel brand has never had the muscle to fight in the affordable premium and premium segments. This is where the TCL brand is being mobilized.

Its initial smartphone product is the TCL Plex. It’s a well-executed mid-range smartphone. Interestingly, it also runs the Pixelworks technology that HMD Nokia is using. Here Pixelworks helps TCL’s own display technology to really shine, with excellent color reproduction.

The Plex also has a triple camera set-up, which is almost now table stakes in the mid-range.

TCL has good organizational structures in many parts of the world in which its Chinese rivals are only just now establishing. This means it has a head start in some respects, but the brand is unknown in the smartphone market in Europe and many parts of Asia. And given that it will only launch in markets where operators are not heavily in control, means that it won’t launch in the US, UK, and a few other key markets – preferring to work with open market retailers.

TCL flashed a look at a folding concept, though played down the speed with which it will bring a device to market. It also showed an augmented reality headset concept – again with no specific plans to bring it to market.

TCL faces a considerable task to establish a beachhead in the market. But its challenges are mostly around marketing, distribution and brand than execution of good hardware.

Moto – Camera to the fore

Motorola’s One Zoom is the next iteration in the Moto One series (that also includes the One, One Power, One Vision, and One Action). As the name implies, this model is leading with its telephoto camera capabilities. The phone sports a four-camera set-up on the back with standard, telephoto, wide-angle and a ToF depth sensor. These are paired with an OLED display and powered by a Qualcomm Snapdragon 675 chipset and running stock Android 9. Pricing is around €400. The design is not to everyone’s taste, but the materials and finish are to a high standard.

Sony: didn’t get the memo about mid-range

Sony launched the Xperia 5, a flagship device with pricing likely above €800. Running on the Snapdragon 855 application processor, with a 21:9 aspect ratio 6.1” OLED FHD+ display, it’s a surprisingly compact device that acts as a smaller version of the Xperia 1, launched in February.

However, we doubt the Xperia 5 will do much to rekindle Sony’s dismal sales figures. With a wide range of excellent competitor devices from a variety of OEMs, mostly at much more attractive price points, Sony will likely struggle to gain traction even with the help provided by Huawei’s current misfortune.

Samsung: an unfolding story

Samsung’s ill-fated Galaxy Fold has been under wraps since the problems surfaced back in the spring. Samsung has been working on several improvements, such as small retention covers to prevent careless users from peeling off the top layer of the screen. And the gaps that allowed small particles of material to enter under the screen have been closed. In addition, the hinge mechanism now feels much sturdier than it did. This may be subjective and may also vary between units, but it now feels mechanically robust.

In addition to the outward hardware changes, Samsung is now offering the Galaxy Fold in both 4G and 5G versions, though it’s not clear what the pricing differential will be between the two or which markets will get which versions.

The device is definitely a work of mechanical art, but whether it’s worth the massive price premium is less clear. The advantages in terms of additional screen real estate come at a high price – both financially but also in terms of bulk and fragility. We expect the Galaxy Fold, and other folding form factor devices, will remain of niche interest for early adopters, for now.

Hearables are go

One of the other trends evident at IFA was the burgeoning availability of true wireless earbuds with updates and new releases from multiple vendors: including Huawei, Jabra, Plantronics, Nokia HMD and TCL.

Huawei’s launch of its Freebuds 3 was significant because they’re based on the new Kirin A1 chip. Outwardly they look similar to Apple’s Airpods, but their features set them apart. Despite having an open ear design, they offer active noise cancellation (ANC). They also feature bone-conduction technology to enhance microphone sensitivity as well as a wind deflector so they can be used while outside or even when cycling at up to 20km/h.

We couldn’t try the wind deflecting capabilities, but we did try music and they sounded good, with noticeably better audio quality than Apple’s Airpods. However, expect Apple to update its own Airpods within the next few months to raise the bar higher again.

Global True Wireless Hearables Market Reaches 17.5 Million Units in Q1 2019

The launch of new premium models and the spread of existing budget models are fuelling the growth spurt together. 

Seoul, Hong Kong, New Delhi, Beijing, London, Buenos Aires, San Diego

June 14th, 2019

The size of the global market for true wireless hearables reached 17.5 million units in Q1 2019, growing 40% quarter-on-quarter (QoQ), according to the findings of Counterpoint Research’s Hearables Market Tracker. While all regions continued to grow, North America and Europe were the fastest growing regions.

Apple’s market share remained at the same level seen in the last quarter, failing to grow in spite of the launch of its second generation AirPods. While sales of the first generation AirPods were higher than expected thanks to a variety of sales promotions for stock-outs in the channel in Q1 2019, sales of the new model were weaker than initially expected due to the market’s mixed response.

Samsung significantly expanded its market share and ranked the second for the first time by aggressively promoting its new and enhanced model, Galaxy Buds. It is expected to maintain this momentum for a while thanks to the market’s positive response as well as the effect of bundling with Galaxy S10 series.

While premium models, around US$150 and above, ranked high in the best-sellers list, QCY T1 and JLAB JBuds Air were strong in the low-to-mid-tier segment. New rising stars, Soundcore Liberty Air and Tzumi Sound Mates also began to show a solid performance.

Exhibit 1: Global Market Share by Brand for Q1 2019

Global Market Share by Brand for Q1 2019


Exhibit 2:   Global Top 10 Best Selling List for Q1 2019

Global Top 10 Best Selling List for Q1 2019Speaking about the competitive landscape, Liz Lee, Senior Analyst at Counterpoint Research said, “It remains uncertain if Apple’s market share could stay at the present level with the current product portfolio in the coming quarters. Samsung is trying to strengthen its dominance with Galaxy Buds, propelled by bundling with Galaxy S10 series. The recent performance of QCY and Soundcore, who are also expanding their global presence, is noteworthy. Above all, Google, Amazon, and Microsoft are expected to release true wireless earbuds in the second half of this year. The market is getting more dynamic and energetic.”

The comprehensive and in-depth reports, “Hearables Market Tracker Q1 2019” and “Hearables Market Analysis Q1 2019” including regional market analysis, are available for purchase at Please feel free to reach out to us at press (at) for further questions regarding our latest research, insights or press inquiries.

Analyst Contacts:

Liz Lee

Counterpoint Research


Global True Wireless Hearables Market Reaches 12.5 Million Units in Q4 2018

Apple was the market leader with its AirPods as premium models continued to dominate the market. However, mid-tier brands started to gain market share.

Seoul, Hong Kong, New Delhi, Beijing, London, Buenos Aires, San Diego

March 29th, 2019

The size of the global market for true wireless hearables stood 12.5 million units in Q4 2018, according to the findings of Counterpoint Research’s Hearables Market Tracker. North America was the largest market, accounting for 24% of the volumes, followed closely by the Asia Pacific region excluding China and Europe.

In terms of brands, Apple was the clear leader with a 60% market share. However, its share was dented as customers waited for the new generation of AirPods, scheduled for launch in Q1 2019. The strong performance of second-tier brands, such as JLab and QCY, also had a negative impact on Apple’s market share.

Apart from Apple’s AirPods, the best sellers list featured premium models priced around US$150-200. Jabra Elite Active 65t, Samsung Gear IconX, and Bose SoundSport Free featured were some of the premium models in the top 10 best-selling list. However, several low to mid-tier models priced under US$100 also made their mark.

Speaking about the competitive landscape, Liz Lee, Senior Analyst at Counterpoint Research said, “In Q4 2018, cost-effective models such as JLab JBuds Air True Wireless and QCY T1 gained considerable market shares. As more companies enter the market and roll out new devices equipped with advanced features at a reasonable price, consumers will get a wider choice in the future. We expect the competition to intensify going ahead.”

Exhibit 1: Global Market Share by Brand for Q4 2018Global Market Share by Brand for Q4 2018

Exhibit 2:   Global Top 10 Best Selling Models for Q4 2018

Global Top 10 Best Selling Models for Q4 2018

Summary of major regions for Q4 2018:

  • North America – Apple remained strong in its home market. However, global brands like Samsung and Jabra, and interestingly JLab and iQ Podz, also performed well in the US and Canada.
  • Europe – Apple underperformed with a bit lower market share as compared to other regions. Other premium brands, such as Jabra, outperformed. Jabra, in particular, had a market share of 14%. Performance of new brands such as Arbily, HolyHigh, and Vigoshop across Western Europe was also noteworthy.
  • Asia Pacific (ex. China) – Apple’s performance seemed healthy but the eye-catching performance was from the new Asian brands like Britz and GLIDiC. Growth in the Asia Pacific market is expected to be strong driven by developing countries.
  • China – Apple’s market share was relatively lower as compared to other regions. QCY’s presence is growing with its budget devices T1 and T1S. Other Chinese local brands including Honor, Edifier and ENKOR also had a strong performance in China.

The comprehensive and in-depth Market Tracker and Reports for Hearables are available for purchase at our Insights Portal. Please feel free to reach out to us at press(at) for further questions regarding our in-depth latest research, insights or press enquiries.


Analyst Contacts:

Liz Lee
+82 2 553 4813


Counterpoint Research


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