Low-end Models Drive Rebound of Global TWS Shipments in Q2 2022

  • Under $50 low-end models led market growth. Low-end models absorbed the replacement cycle with decent quality.
  • The $100 and above segment’s share decreased noticeably with the weakened buying power due to recession fears, especially in Europe.

Although inflation has reduced the overall demand for tech gadgets, global TWS hearables shipments managed to grow 13% QoQ and 15% YoY in Q2 2022 driven by low-end models in the under-$50 segment, according to the latest data from Counterpoint’s TWS Hearables Market Tracker. Thanks to their low price, entry-level models were not impacted by inflation fears. Emerging markets like India, MEA and Latin America grew QoQ driven by low-end models, while China continues to suffer from a weak economic climate and its Zero-Covid policy. The overall growth of the global TWS market in Q2 2022 was sluggish, especially in YoY terms, due to COVID-19 and weak macroeconomic indicators.

Global TWS Market Shipments, Q1 2020-Q2 2022

Global TWS Market 2022 Q2


Source: Counterpoint Research

With the fear of a lurking recession, affordable TWS models were welcomed by consumers. This meant a big opportunity for low-to-mid-priced brands like Xiaomi, QCY and Skullcandy. As demand for new TWS models still exists in emerging markets, led to growth for the sub-$100 segment in Q2 2022. Xiaomi, in particular, benefited greatly from its broad portfolio focused on entry-level and led the sub-$100 segment. The brand was also able to better absorb the device replacement cycle.

On the other hand, the $100 and above segment contracted noticeably with the decreased buying power due to recession fears, especially in Europe. As the Russia-Ukraine war prolonged, demand for new tech devices decreased. Unit sales of major brands, especially Apple and Samsung, decreased compared to the previous quarter due to a weak economic climate and demand for new Pro models, to be released in H2 2022.


Global TWS Market Share by Brand, Q2 2022

Global TWS Market Share by Brand, Q2 2022


Source: Counterpoint Research

Apple is expected to rebound in H2 2022. As the upcoming Airpods Pro 2 remain as the only alternative model for ANC-enabled Airpods, the former could absorb the demand of its past iteration which was released in 2019.

Samsung’s Galaxy Buds 2 Pro is also expected to receive favorable reviews with its high sound quality and outstanding ANC. Its increased price would pose a big hurdle for the new Galaxy Buds Pro model but is still about $20 cheaper than the AirPods Pro model. If Samsung succeeds in showing decent sales with the increased price, it could prove to be a milestone for its premium brand image in the TWS market.

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