The segment, led by Apple, potentially exceeded 350 million units for the full year, found Canalys.
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The smart market for personal audio devices, including real wireless stereo (TWS), wireless earphones, and wireless headphones, had its strongest year in history in 2019, according to Canalys research published Monday.
The segment is expected to break the 100 million unit limit in the last quarter of 2019, possibly more than 350 million units for the entire year.
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The TWS category was the fastest growing part of the market in 2019, with annual growth of 183% in the third quarter alone, according to the data.
Forty-three million TWS earphones shipped in Q3 2019 and became the dominant category in the market for smart personal audio devices, surpassing wireless earphones and wireless headphones, the study found.
While wireless earphones and headphones remove the cord connecting the buttons to the phone, TWS removes the wires connecting the buttons themselves, making the listening experience truly wireless.
“The increasing importance of content streaming and the rapid introduction into a new form of social media, including short videos, have resulted in major changes in audio consumption by mobile users and these changes will accelerate over the next five years, while technological progress such as machine Learning and smart assistants will bring more radical innovations in areas such as discovering audio content and ambient computing, “said Nicole Peng, vice president of mobility at Canalys, in the press release.
With these changes in the habits of video consumption, suppliers of smartphones have started to contribute more to the TWS market in recent years, according to the data.
Apple is dominating again
If it wasn’t enough to have the best-selling smartphone, Apple was also the top seller on the TWS market, with 43% of the TWS market share and 18.2 million units in the third quarter of 2019.
This data does not even take into account Airpods Pro from Apple that was released at the end of October. Apple said it had the highest revenue ever in the fourth quarter, with the Airpods Pro contributing significantly to that result.
“Apple is in a clear leading position and not just in the field of chipset technology. The seamless integration with iPhone, unique size and noise reduction functions that provide a first-class user experience, is where other smartphone suppliers such as Samsung, Huawei and Xiaomi focus on their TWS devices, “Peng said in the release.
“In the short term, smart personal audio devices are seen as the best-selling opportunities for smartphone suppliers compared to wearables and smart home devices.”
Xiaomi (7%) and Samsung (6%) formed the rest of the TWS earphone market in Q3 2019. JBL and Sony were able to maintain their presence in the wireless earphones and headphones categories in Q3 2019.
Regarding the market shares of wireless earphones, JBL and Sony accounted for 8% and 6% respectively. In the wireless headphones they made up 13% and 10%, the data found.
In general, smart personal audio devices are undoubtedly growing. For every 100 smartphones sent in Q3 2019, 27 smart personal audio devices were also sent, according to the survey, and this trend will continue in that process.
“The potential for TWS devices has not yet been fully uncovered and suppliers need to look beyond TWS as a way to drive revenue growth,” said Canalys senior analyst Jason Low in the release.
“In combination with information collected from sensors or provided by smart assistants via smartphones, TWS devices will become smarter and serve broader usage scenarios than audio entertainment, such as payment and health and fitness,” Low said.
“Regardless of the form factor, the next challenge is to integrate smarter functions and complex services on the smart personal audio platforms,” he added. “Canalys expects the market for smart personal audio devices to grow exponentially over the next two years and the pie is big enough for many suppliers to come in and compete for top positions as technology leaders and volume leaders.”
For more information, visit IDC: Why you can hear the new wearables on TechRepublic.
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