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Global TWS Earphone Shipments Surged 86% In Q1

Despite the COVID-19 pandemic having a negative impact on the smart audio device category overall, global True Wireless Stereo (TWS) earbud shipments rose by 86% year-on-year in Q1 2020 to total 43.8 million, according to market research firm Canalys.

“Market leader Apple maintained its strong momentum. It did especially well with its noise-cancelling AirPods Pro, shipping 5.5 million in Q1,” said Canalys Research Analyst Cynthia Chen. “Samsung gained a boost with the release of its Galaxy Buds+, which saw improvements in sound quality and battery life.”

Apple shipped 18.1 million TWS earphones in Q1 2020, while Samsung made 4.5 million shipments.

TWS held 38% of market share, making it the largest smart audio device category.

Looking ahead, Canalys expects TWS to continue to be a strong growth market.

“With TWS, vendors aim to make it easier for users to consume content, as well as streamline access to smart assistants,” said Canalys Senior Analyst Jason Low.

“Through tightly knitted integration with smart devices, such as smartphones, TWS devices are expected to become smarter, allowing users to work, exercise, learn, relax and be entertained more effectively.”

Other tech devices used to keep track of health, such as smartwatches and fitness trackers, among other wearables, also increased during the COVID-19 lockdowns.

While demand for TWS earbuds surged, shipments of wireless headphones and wireless earphones both fell, by 26% and 15%, respectively.

Smart speakers also recorded their first quarter of global decline, falling by 1.9% to 20.3 million units.

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