Apple dominated the true wireless stereo (TWS) hearables market in India in 2019, driven by strong sales of its second-generation AirPods, while Chinese brand Realme grabbed 5th spot in just one month of launching its first Buds Air, a new report said on Thursday. Apple grabbed 27 percent share of the India hearables market, followed by an upstart brand Noise at 12 percent and JBL at 8 percent. Samsung with a 7 percent market share was fourth.
The India TWS market posted a massive 700 percent growth in 2019 and the top three brands contributed almost half of the total shipments, according to Counterpoint Research. "The launch of many affordable devices by players like Realme, Xiaomi and Noise immediately caught consumers' attention with their audio quality and ease of use," said Research Analyst Shilpi Jain.
As the Indian market remains largely untapped for TWS, the segment holds huge growth potential and opportunities for new players, she added. Although it faced stiff competition, factors like reputation as a pioneer, noise-cancelling feature, easy integration with its devices and quick charging helped Apple maintain its leadership position in India.
Realme, one of the fastest-growing brands in India, launched its first TWS- Buds Air in December 2019 and immediately jumped to the fifth-largest brand within the initial month of launch. Similar form-factor to Apple's AirPods, good-enough sound quality and features such as low-latency gaming mode, at an affordable price point, raised the overall value proposition, said the report.
"The increasing audio content consumption, portability, and advancements like health and fitness tracking, smart assistants are making TWS popular among smartphone users and driving the demand," informed Jain. The launch of JBL C100TWS in December with an amazing introductory offer of Rs 4,000 discount - together with good bass reproduction, fast charging and one-click access to Siri and Google - made it popular.
For Samsung, brand popularity, stylish design and comfortable fit of its Galaxy Buds attracted consumers' attention. "Expect more original equipment manufacturers (OEMs) to jump in and follow Apple, Samsung, and Realme in the India market where the attach rate for wireless buds is still quite low," said Counterpoint Research Analyst Satyajit Sinha.