According to the latest Canalys estimates, true wireless stereo (TWS) shipments grew 21% to reach 103.8 million in quarter four of 2021, passing the 100 million mark for the first time. Apple drove the return of double-digit growth on the back of its third-generation AirPods launch. A strong performance from smart device and audio brands also contributed to TWS market growth, offsetting the decline of wireless earphones and headphones. Overall, smart personal audio shipments grew 7.7% to 151.4 million in Q4 2021.
“Apple prioritized serving the needs of those looking for comfort and ease of use with its third-generation AirPods, aiming to improve on the winning formula of its original AirPods design,” says Canalys Research Analyst Sherry Jin. “But Apple faces much stiffer competition in terms of comfort, sound quality, noise cancellation and affordability. It is being challenged to deliver on the spatial audio experience with improvements discernable to the average listener and better ecosystem integration to stay ahead.”
Despite still leading the market, the delay of the third-generation AirPods launch to quarter four 2021 hurt Apple. Its AirPods TWS shipments fell 11.4% to 86 million in 2021.
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