UK: Six in Ten Surveyed Hearable Users Plan To Buy TWS Within a Year

One in two respondents plans on having ANC in their next TWS device.

Apple and BOSE are the most preferred brands for future TWS purchases. 

New Delhi, Mumbai, Hong Kong, Seoul, San Diego, London, Buenos Aires – 24th June 2020


Six out of ten hearable users in the UK plan to buy a True Wireless Stereo (TWS) headset within a year, according to a Counterpoint Research Consumer Lens study. This consumer research study highlights the inclination of consumers towards TWS, with one-third preferring TWS for regular use.  The UK’s TWS market is set to grow at a 64% CAGR to 17 million units in 2022.

Looking at the future potential of TWS hearables, users who currently only have wireless hearables, 70% of them are interested in buying a TWS in the future. Among users who have both wired and wireless hearables, 60% of them are interested in TWS. The interest level is lowest among users who only have wired hearables, where only 44% of them are interested in a TWS purchase in the future. However, this is, at least partially, driven by users simply making use of the headphones supplied with most smartphones.

Commenting on the UK hearables market, Arushi Chawla, Research Associate at Counterpoint Research, said, “In this transitional phase towards a wireless lifestyle, hearables are part of the journey. Advancing technologies lead to smaller form factors and new designs that make hearables comfortable to wear and part of the day to day fashion. Further democratizing the technology is occurring as economies of scale are leading more and more smartphone brands to include TWS as a part of their portfolios.”

Chawla further added, “Tough competition between brands and the fast replacement cycles of hearables are acting as catalysts which will increase the penetration of TWS in the near to mid-term. According to our survey results, more than half of prospective TWS buyers are planning to spend between £50-£150 for their next hearable purchase. This is because many wireless hearable users are moving toward higher ASP TWS devices. Many first-time hearables buyers are also aiming to buy TWS hearables due to their wide availability. This will further push the sweet spot of the overall hearables market from below £50 towards £51-£100 in the next year.”

Exhibit 1: Hearable Purchase Intention by Price Band

Counterpoint Research-Hearable Purchase Intention by Price Band

Source: Counterpoint Research Consumer Lens Survey, May 2020

Analyzing the most sought-after features in future purchases, nearly 90% of our survey respondents expressed interest in active noise cancellation (ANC). One in every two is interested in having ANC in their next TWS purchase and more than half of them are ready to pay up to 20% extra for ANC.

Pavel Naiya, Senior Analyst at Counterpoint Research, highlights, “The interest in ANC over other features like auto volume adjustment, real-time translation, voice search, etc. is due to the multiple use cases for ANC in our daily life. It is helpful to create an uninterrupted environment when listening to music or an audiobook or a more distraction-free environment during work or study. ANC features in TWS are also praised for providing better sound quality, but concern was also expressed about the potential for ANC to drain batteries faster.”

Commenting on the OEM preference, Mr. Naiya added “Apple will continue its dominance of the UK hearable market because of its loyal smartphone user base. Bose is well-known for its wireless headphones and this popularity is translating also to TWS, helped by recent attractive offers. Sony’s high ratings in media reviews have helped it secure the third strongest brand preference – similar to Bose.”

Exhibit 2: UK: Future TWS Brand Preference

Counterpoint Research-UK Consumer Preferences for Future TWS Purchase

Source: Counterpoint Research Consumer Lens Survey, May 2020


A consumer-level survey was conducted with hearable users in the UK during May 2020. The consumer opinion belongs to a heterogeneous group in terms of age, monthly income, gender, and occupation. Data points were selected which abided all the logical checks throughout the analysis section and gave a better representation of the ongoing hearable trend and future opinion in the UK.

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Analyst Contacts:

Arushi Chawla


Pavel Naiya

Liz Lee